Houthi attacks on Saudi civilian airport inflame regional tensions

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh and AFP

A missile deployed by the Iran-backed Houthis struck the Abha airport on June 12th, wounding 26 civilians. [Photo courtesy of the Saudi Press Agency]

A missile deployed by the Iran-backed Houthis struck the Abha airport on June 12th, wounding 26 civilians. [Photo courtesy of the Saudi Press Agency]

A Tuesday (July 2nd) attack by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia comes amid heightened regional tensions with Iran.

The cross-border attack, which wounded nine civilians, is the latest in a string of Iran-linked attacks on civilian targets in the kingdom, including previous attacks on the same airport, the Arab coalition said.

"The terrorist attack on Abha airport... led to the injury of nine civilians, including eight Saudi citizens and one carrying an Indian passport," the Arab coalition said in a Tuesday statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

Earlier, the Houthis said they had "launched a wide operation" targeting Abha international airport with drones, according to their Al-Masira television channel.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, who have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks. Tehran denies the charge.

Saudi forces on June 14th intercepted five drones targeting Abha airport and the nearby city of Khamis Mushayt launched by the Houthis, the Arab coalition said.

Two days earlier, on June 12th, a Houthi missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians, drawing promises of "stern action" from the Arab coalition.

And on June 23rd, another Houthi attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians, the Arab coalition said.

On May 24th, the Saudi air force shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by the Houthis that targeted Jizan airport, which is near the southern border with Yemen and is used by thousands of civilians every day, the Arab coalition said.

The Houthis claimed the attack via their Al-Masirah news outlet.

And a day before that, Saudi Arabia shot down an explosives-laden drone deployed by the Houthis targeting Najran airport, also near its southern border.

Attacks on civilians

"Iran is continuing its policy of spreading tension and instability in the Middle East and the Gulf through the successive transgressions carried out by its proxy groups," Saudi military expert Mansour al-Shehri told Al-Mashareq.

Attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis are largely directed at civilian areas and installations in Saudi Arabia, he said, "causing deaths and injuries".

Iran's support of the Houthis has prolonged the war in Yemen and has contributed to the resulting humanitarian crisis, which is characterised by acute food shortages and outbreaks of illnesses such as cholera, he said.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has "equipped the Houthis with military technologies that enabled them to carry out attacks on civilian sites and facilities that have been continuing for more than a year", al-Shehri noted.

War by proxy

"Iran has relied on the war-by-proxy tactic conducted primarily through the military arms it established and supported in the region," political researcher Abdul Nabi Bakkar told Al-Mashareq.

It has sought to move its battles outside its own borders by using its affiliates "to carry out attacks aimed at sowing constant turmoil and tension", he said.

Putting an end to these attacks has become a global demand, Bakkar said.

The sole aim of attacks by Iranian proxies in the region "is to keep the region in a state of constant tension and insecurity", retired UAE army officer Abdullah al-Ameri told Al-Mashareq.

Through these actions, Iran seeks to implement its expansionist policy by penetrating deep into areas of tension, he said, "which has been the case in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen".

The IRGC is continuing its repeated attacks in a manner that poses a danger "to the lives and stability of thousands of civilians, should the IRGC proxies' attacks expand and turn into a war", he said.

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This is strange. Have Arabs reached this level of stupidity? It is they who have brought Iran to what it is now. It is they who consolidated its political influence in the region. And now they’re blackmailing Arabs under the pretext of protecting them against Iran. If Iran poses a threat to international navigation in the region, it would be logical that Iran be stricken. The presence of American and European bases and armies in the Arab regional waters or any Arab country only means that they’re forces of occupation under the cover of protection against Iran. Wake up, Arabs! If you can’t protect yourselves, your land, and regional waters, then you don’t deserve to live.


I'm waiting for Riyadh to be hit like Sana'a. Civilians will be against civilians.


And what do you call Saudi Arabia’s bombardment of the civil airports in Sana'a, Taiz and al-Hodeidah? God in His Book said that we should attack those who attack us.


You’re besieging Yemen from the ground, air and sea. How can you accuse the Houthis of receiving support from Iran? How is this support provided? From where?! Who are you lying to? Shame on you! Have some shame!


O, how dirty and rude your pretexts are! Iran is near to you. If you were men, go and liberate your islands and cut their arms as you confirm from the head. You’re liars, hypocrites and slaves to America and Israel. You’ve killed innocent people in Yemen. You’ve shelled trees and stones. You’ve shut down airports. You’ve besieged and deprived us of food and medicine. You’re fighting us in our livelihoods and economy. However, we have men who now manufacture weapons and tread on you along the border. Your soldiers will flee from Yemen’s men and army. You have no cause. We’re the owners of land. We’ll defend ourselves using everything in our power against those who attack us. We’ll tread on you, Al Saud. You lie to your people about Iran. Iran isn’t in Yemen, but in your brains, o, you, rude men! You’ve divided the Arab world. You’ve allied yourselves with Israel and America. You’ve sold off al-Quds and normalised relations with the Jews. You’re still lying. However, God willing, your end will be at the hands of Yemen’s men who will uproot your malice from the Arab world. Tomorrow isn’t too long to wait for!


Why does the Saudi regime continue to lie to its people by being unable to defend its airspace although it has paid hundreds of billions to buy an arsenal of weapons, ammunition and mercenaries? The Yemeni people will triumph against all the coalition countries, foremost among which are America and the damned Israel, and against all traitors and agents who worship the dirham and the riyal, and who have sold off and betrayed their homeland.


This is just nonsense! They’re talking about Iran and the proxy war, etc. Who started the war, you stupid?! Everyone knows. You’re in a valley of lies and quackery. Yemenis now manufacture rockets and drones, while you’re now subscribing to channels. You’re holding an exhibition of the remains of Yemeni drones. Either you fight with men and get hit without complaining, or you stop it. It will be more honourable to you, Saudis, and you can then go get busy with the opening and Islamic discos!


Those who want to damn themselves, let them lie. You should be ashamed of yourselves, o, you who call yourselves analysts upon request. You should ask your wives if they believe your lies. Just see how they would answer you. Iran, you bastards, has three Emirati islands. Just wait until forgot me and restore your islands, and then come talk to men, o, you quasi men! The Zionist coalition has destroyed, murdered and displaced Yemen and Yemenis. You’ve looted oil, gas and all types of wealth. Even trees weren’t spared by you, o, quasi men! You kill your Yemeni brothers, normalise relations with the Israelis, and the Americans tread on you with their shoes. O, Salman the Saw, which religion you derive [your principles] from? Neither God’s book [i.e. Quran], nor His Prophet would approve of what you’re doing to your brothers in the Arab world. The problem is that Trump knows you more than your own people. This is because Trump knows you don’t have original Arab blood, you bastards. By God, greetings to every wife of a king or prince, or a woman who expressed what some men in that Kingdom and Emirates couldn’t, by fleeing to other countries. This is the least they can do.