Security

Houthis launch drone attack on Saudi airport

By Al-Mashareq and AFP

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Travellers gather in front of the arrivals lounge at Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia in this file photo from July 2, 2019. [AFP]

RIYADH -- Iran-backed Houthis on Tuesday (August 31) launched a drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport from territory they control in Yemen, wounding eight people, the Arab coalition said.

Saudi air defences successfully intercepted the drone -- the second fired in 24 hours -- but shrapnel from the drone injured eight people and damaged a civilian aircraft, Arab coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki said.

Earlier in the day, a ballistic missile and an explosives-laden drone the Houthis had launched towards the kingdom's southern Najran region and Abha International Airport was successfully intercepted, he said.

After the Arab coalition intercepted the first attack, shrapnel hit parts of the airport near the runway, according to Saudi Arabia's official Al-Ekhbariya television channel.

It added that flights were temporarily halted "to ensure the safety of incoming and departing aircraft, as well as civilians at the airport".

The Houthis have yet to comment on the incident.

'Cowardly terrorist acts'

In a statement issued in Tunisia, the General Secretariat of the Arab Interior Ministers Council strongly condemned the Houthis' repeated attacks on Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It denounced "these cowardly terrorist acts through which this militia is trying to target civilians and civilian objects and threaten the security and stability of the region, in flagrant violation of all international laws and norms".

It commended the "great efforts" of the Saudi and coalition forces to protect civilians and respond professionally to all terrorist attacks, the statement said.

On Sunday, a Houthi attack on Yemen's largest air base, al-Anad, killed at least 30 pro-government troops and wounded many more, medical and government sources said. Al-Anad air base is located around 60km north of Aden.

Armed forces spokesman Mohammed al-Naqib said the Houthis had fired ballistic missiles and carried out a drone attack at the base.

In a statement carried by local media, Yemen's Minister of Information Muammar al-Eryani said the recent attacks highlight the Houthis' intention to continue military escalation and undermine international peace mediation efforts.

Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen war on behalf of the internationally recognised government in 2015, shortly after the Houthis seized control of Sanaa in a 2014 coup.

The Iran-allied militia has repeatedly targeted the kingdom in cross-border attacks, escalating its attacks in August, using drones and missiles.

While the United Nations is pushing for an end to the war, the Houthis have demanded the re-opening of Sanaa airport, closed under a Saudi blockade since 2016, before any ceasefire or negotiations.

The incoming UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, will officially assume his duties on September 5.

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Is it courageous to intimidate and kill Saudi civilians, especially as Saudi Arabia has been treating Yemenis as Saudi citizens for decades?

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Saudi Arabia has violated the Taif agreement on the treatment of Yemenis. Yemenis are being humiliated on its soil, unlike the way Yemenis are being treated in Christian countries.

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