Yemen’s state news agency Saba, run by the Houthi movement which controls the capital, said the bombing resulted in “dozens of martyrs and hundreds of wounded,” citing a government official.
Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Sunni Arab countries in air strikes against the Iran-allied Shi’ite Houthi group and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The blast hit the base on Faj Attan mountain beside Hadda district, home to the presidential palace and many embassies, and sent a thick pillar of smoke into the air.
Resident Adel Mansour said it was the largest explosion in more than three weeks of bombing by the Saudi-led coalition.
“For the first time since the start of the bombing the windows of my house smashed,” Mansour said. “My children are terrified and one of my relatives fainted because of the force of the blast.”
An eyewitness at a hospital in the area said the emergency room was overwhelmed with victims, who screamed in pain from wounds sustained by the flying debris of their homes.
The campaign has repeatedly targeted the Faj Attan facility along with other military bases and airports in Sanaa and throughout the country.
The explosion also damaged the headquarters of a television station, Yemen Today, which is owned by ex-president Saleh, knocking its signal off air and wounding several people, employees told Reuters.