Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubair announced airstrikes have begun against Houthi positions in Yemen, citing, "the objective is to defend the legitimate government of President Hadi from the takeover attempts by the Houthi militias in Yemen. The use of force is always the last resort." Al-Jubair said that over ten countries are involved in the coalition, which includes every GCC country except Oman, plus Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan and Morocco. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged over 100 warplanes and 150,000 troops to the anti-Houthi effort according to Al-Arabiya TV.

The Saudi-led coalition designated Yemen's airspace as a 'restricted zone' as airstrikes targeted air defenses and Military installations in several areas controlled by Houthis. Houthi political representative Mohammed al-Bukhaiti stated, "There is an aggression underway in Yemen and we will confront it … Military operations will drag the region to a wide war."

Earlier this week, Houthi forces captured parts of the city of Aden including the al-Anad airbase. A small contingent of US special forces troops previously stationed in the area had already left the country. Troops loyal to President Hadi defended an attempt to rush an army barracks within Aden, as additional reports indicated that rebels are consolidating their strength around the port city.

Due to the recent skirmishes, Hadi fled his palace in Aden, the country's second largest city, after rebel Houthis advanced in nearby areas within in the fragile state.

Hadi and his supporters established an exile government authority in Aden after they were forced out of the capital Sana'a late last year. It is unclear whether Hadi remains in Yemen or has left the country amid the fighting. Groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and militias loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have also been involved in the current conflict, while recently ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack that killed over 137 in Sana'a. Accusations that Iran have directly and indirectly supported the Houthi movement have fueled tensions between the rebels and ousted government supported by Saudi and other regional players.