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Iran Says Saudi Airstrikes In Yemen Are "A Dangerous Step"

Yemen's President Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi, who abandoned his home in Aden earlier this week, arrived in Saudi Arabia's capital Thursday. Saudi Arabia has since launched a military campaign inside the Yemen.

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Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi arrived at the Saudi capital of Riyadh Thursday after fleeing Yemen earlier this week, the Saudi Arabia embassy announced.

Hadi fled after an opposition group put out a $100,000 bounty for his capture. He also asked the United Nations Security Council to intervene and "deter the Huthi aggression."

The Yemeni president fled before Saudi Arabia began military operations in the country Wednesday.

His whereabouts had remained unknown until Thursday.

According to Saudi Arabia Embassy, Hadi was received at the Riyadh Airbase by the country's minister of defense, the president of the royal court, and the chief of general intelligence.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has branded Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen as a "dangerous step," the AP reported.

On Thursday morning, the ministry said that the move amounted to an "invasion" which would worsen the crisis in the country.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, is fully backing the operation. "We support the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen following President Hadi's request for support by 'all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter Houthi aggression,'" a statement from the Foreign Office read. "As the UN Security Council has made clear, President Hadi is Yemen's legitimate President.”

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia said they had started a military campaign in the crisis-hit country. BuzzFeed News' report follows below.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington on Wednesday.

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Saudi officials on Wednesday announced that they had started a military campaign inside Yemen.

Stability in the country has teetered toward chaos as Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled the country Wednesday and Huthis seized control of a military base used by the U.S. for drone strikes.

President Obama also authorized "logistical and intelligence support" to Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council leading the military action, according to a statement released by the U.S. National Security Council.

Reuters, citing residents, reported that warplanes were bombing the airport of the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

On Wednesday evening, the Saudi Ambassador told the Associated Press that to have Yemen fail "is not an option for us."

U.S. forces were not taking direct military action in the country, according to the statement released by NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

BREAKING: Saudi ambassador: Saudi Arabia has begun military operations in Yemen.

Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir told reporters 10 countries had joined in the coalition for the military campaign "to protect and defend the legitimate government" of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

A statement published by the Saudi Press Agency listed Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain as being among the countries that answered Hadi's request to "protect Yemen and his dear people from the aggression of the Houthi militias."

Al-Jubeir told reporters the military action began at 7 p.m. ET.

He also said American officials were consulted about the military action, thought he declined to say whether U.S. intelligence agencies were involved.

According to the Associated Press, Houthis sent a statement to reporters announcing that Saudi jets were attacking the military base al-Duleimi in the capital of Sanaa, and that they responded with anti-aircraft missiles.

An Associated Press correspondent who lives in the area reported loud explosions in the city.

After Saudi Arabia announced the military action, U.S. officials released a statement condemning the military action taken by the Huthis, stating they "have caused widespread instability and chaos."

The statement offered support for Saudi Arabia's action, and said the U.S. was establishing a "Joint Planning Cell" with Saudi Arabia to coordinate military and intelligence support.

The NSC statement said officials had been in close contact with Yemeni President Hadi and other regional partners.

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Earlier in the day, Hadi fled his palatial home in the temporary capital of Aden to an undisclosed location on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Hani Mohammed / AP

President Hadi, then vice president of Yemen, attends an inauguration ceremony for his presidential election campaign, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 7, 2012.

The Huthis also said in the TV segment that they had moved into a Yemeni air base located roughly 60 kilometers from Aden, the same military base where troops from the U.S. and Europe had previously assisted the country in its fight against al-Qaeda.

On Tuesday, President Hadi wrote a letter to the United Nations Security Council asking them to approve a military intervention "to protect Yemen and to deter the Huthi aggression" in the southern region of the country, according the to AP.

Hadi's Chief of staff ; we have officially asked he gulf in a letter to interfere militarily and they said yes but no action yet . #yemen

Political strife in Yemen culminated in January with the resignation of President Hadi, who rescinded his decision the following month. Since then, tensions have continued to escalate.

On March 20, suicide bombers attacked two mosques in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, killing 126 people. President Hadi has also announced that he has survived as many as four recent assassination attempts.

The increasing frequency of violence has prompted many to believe that Yemen may be past the point of peaceful return.

Adding to the chaos, U.S. intelligence officials believe secret files once held by fleeing Yemeni forces were looted by Iranian-backed Huthi militia leaders, exposing the identities of informants and counter-terrorism operations.

Citing confidential sources, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday reported that U.S. officials also believe additional files were handed directly to Iranian advisors by Yemeni officials who have sided with the Huthi militia, dealing a huge blow to American intelligence networks in Yemen.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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