DUBAI (Reuters) - The Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen for almost a month announced on Tuesday the end to its military operation, but a Saudi spokesman said forces would continue to target the Iran-allied Houthi movement as necessary.
"Operation Decisive Storm has achieved its goals...(including) removing the threat to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries especially in terms of heavy weapons," said a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA.
"With its end, the new Operation Restoring Hope begins with the following goals: continuing to protect civilians, continuing to fight terrorism and continuing to facilitate the evacuation of foreign nationals and to intensify relief and medical assistance to the Yemeni people."
The move suggests the campaign's next phase is more political than military, especially after almost a month of bombing that destroyed or damaged heavy weaponry held by the Houthis's allies in Yemen's army, but that hostilities are not definitively over.
Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said the alliance would still target movements by the Houthi militia group.
"The coalition will continue to prevent the Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen," Asseri told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
"Operation Restore Hope has begun and it represents a combination of political, diplomatic and military action," Asseri said.
Reporting By Noah Browning and Mostafa Hashem; Editing by William Maclean and Janet Lawrence