CAIRO/Tehran - Saudi-led air strikes hit three military bases in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Saturday and the Yemeni government in exile expressed reservations about United Nations-led talks aimed at ending the eight-week war.

Residents said the air raids hit a munitions store in one of the bases, setting off a large explosion which sent rockets flying into the air and crashing down on civilian areas. There was no immediate word on casualties. An Arab alliance has been bombing Yemen's dominant group, the Iran-allied Houthi militia, and have backed Yemeni fighters opposing the group in battlefields throughout Yemen's south.

Yemen's exiled government in Saudi Arabia headed by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi expressed reluctance to attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks set for May 28 in Geneva. A spokesman said on Saturday the Houthis and their powerful ally, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, should first commit to a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding they withdraw from Yemen's main cities. "The discussion to hold the Geneva conference perhaps needs more time and arrangements. The other side, the Houthi militias and Saleh, have not recognized President Hadi's legitimacy ... until now they have given no explicit, clear reaction to resolution 2216," Rajeh Badi told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

A delegation of Houthi officials has arrived in neighbouring Oman to discuss the conflict with the government, which has previously relayed messages between the Shi'ite Muslim group and Saudi Arabia. "I hope there is consensus to stop the aggression on Yemen, especially ahead of the Geneva conference, and then a serious Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue which allows Yemenis to build their state and gain security and stability," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam told Arab TV station Al Mayadeen. The group has demanded a ceasefire before they attend the peace talks and have dismissed demands to withdraw from Yemeni cities and the capital, which they seized in September.

In the meanwhile, an Iranian Red Crescent plane carrying 20 tonnes of food for war-torn Yemen was prevented from landing in Djibouti. "Despite coordination with the United Nations and the World Food Programme, the plane was not granted permission to land in Djibouti," the state run IRNA news agency said.

 quoting a Red Crescent official.

The unnamed official said the plane was now in Shabahar, in southeastern Iran, awaiting "the authorisation of the foreign affairs ministry" of Djibouti.

An Iranian boat carrying 2,500 tonnes of aid for Yemen docked late Friday in the Horn of Africa port of Djibouti. The cargo had been handed over to the WFP in Djibouti and was currently being offloaded, WFP spokeswoman Abeer Etefa said on Saturday. "The ship carries 2,500 ton of humanitarian aid and that includes mainly rice and wheat flour, as well as medicine, water, tents and blankets," she said.

The Red Crescent official told IRNA the vessel was being offloaded in Djibouti. The ship had initially been heading for the Yemeni port of Hodeida but had to change course after warnings from the United States and the Saudi-led coalition that has been pounding Shiite rebels in Yemen. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming the Huthi rebels, but Tehran denies the charge and says it is helping in Yemen by opposing air strikes and providing aid.

In April Saudi warplanes prevented an Iranian plane, which Tehran said carried aid for Yemen, from landing in the rebel-held capital Sanaa. The Saudi-led coalition has waged an air war against the Huthis since March 26 in an effort to restore the authority of President Abderabbo Mansour al-Hadi, who has fled to Riyadh after the rebels overran most of the country.