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  • Supporters of the Houthi movement take part in a protest marking the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan

    Supporters of the Houthi movement take part in a protest marking the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 June 2019

Saudis said missile attack has injured 26 people in an airport close to the border with Yemen and the Houthis claimed responsibility for the strike.

A statement made by Saudi authorities said Wednesday a projectile hit the arrivals hall at Abha airport (southwestern Saudi Arabia), causing material damage. Three women and two children were among the wounded, according to the statement.

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The Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the Houthi movement in Yemen said the strike was proof of Iranian support for what it called cross-border terrorism.

"Evidence indicates Iran's Revolutionary Guards supplied the Houthis with the weapon that targeted Abha airport," Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV quoted the coalition as saying.

The coalition added the strike on Abha airport could amount to a war crime and it would take "urgent and timely" measures in response.

The Houthis said on their media channels that they had fired a cruise missile at Abha airport, which is about 200 km north of the Yemen border and serves domestic and regional routes.

A Houthi military spokesman on Tuesday threatened that the group would target every airport in Saudi Arabia and that the coming days would reveal "big surprises".

The coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in Yemen in 2015 to oust the Houthis from power and the conflict has since turned into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran, a narrative rejected by the Houthis who say that they took power from the Saudi-backed government in order to end Saudi interference into the country's affairs. 

A Houthi military spokesman said the attack on Abha airport was a response to the coalition's "crimes" against Yemen.

The Houthis stepped up their attacks following a lull last year ahead of U.N.-led peace efforts. The coalition has responded by carrying out air strikes on Houthi-held Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their coalition have been accused of carrying out war crimes in Yemen as their militaries attack civilian infrastructures and events such as schools, hospitals, weddings and funerals. The United Nations has said that such actions amount to war crimes and that western countries must halt their cooperation and arms sales to the countries involved. 

The United States Congress voted a few weeks ago to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia in a move to pressure the Saudi government to end its attack on the country and to focus efforts on resolving the humanitarian crisis. However, President Donald Trump opted to veto the bill and vowed to continue arms sales to the Arab kingdom, as part of his push for anti-Iran policies lobbied by Israel and Saudi Arabia. 


 

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