RIYADH -- Twelve people were injured by falling debris after the Saudi military blew up a Houthi drone targeting Abha International Airport close to the Yemen border, officials said Thursday (February 10).
The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet.
"Saudi defence forces destroyed a drone launched towards Abha International Airport," the official Saudi Press Agency said.
"We will take firm operational action to respond to the threat to civilian airports and travellers," it added.
The injured civilians included citizens of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka as well as two Saudis, SPA said.
In a post on Twitter, the Saudi Gazette said they included airport workers and travellers.
The Arab Parliament -- the legislative body of the Arab League -- condemned the attack in a Thursday statement, saying it jeopardizes the lives of hundreds of passengers, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The "terrorist and destructive" act increases tensions in the region, it said, adding that not only do these attacks target Saudi Arabia, but they "also seek to destabilise the entire region".
The Houthis have frequently launched drone attacks at Saudi targets including airports and oil installations.
In recent months, they have also targeted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- a member of the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen -- with deadly cross-border attacks for the first time.
Airport a frequent target
"As a result of the interception process, some shrapnel of the drone was scattered after its interception inside the internal perimeter of the airport," coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki told SPA.
He said Abha was a "civilian airport that is protected under international humanitarian law" and accused the Houthis of a "war crime".
The Abha airport has been a regular target for the Houthis.
Saudi defences on December 19 shot down two Houthi drones fired at the airport from Sanaa airport in Yemen, which the Arab coalition said has become a platform for carrying out cross border attacks.
On August 31, Saudi air defences successfully intercepted a drone attack on Abha airport -- the second fired in 24 hours -- but shrapnel from the drone injured eight people and damaged a civilian aircraft.
Flights were temporarily halted "to ensure the safety of incoming and departing aircraft, as well as civilians at the airport", state media said.
Earlier in the day, a ballistic missile and an explosives-laden drone the Houthis had launched towards the airport and the kingdom's southern Najran region was successfully intercepted, an Arab coalition spokesman said.
And on February 10, 2021, the Houthis claimed a drone attack on Abha airport that set a civilian plane on fire.