Civilians Wounded as Houthis Strike Saudi Arabian Airport
Houthi rebels in Yemen conducted a second attack on Saudi Arabian soil in less than a month.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen said on Wednesday that Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a missile on an airport in southern Saudi Arabia, wounding many civilians. CNN reported that the strike hit an arrivals hall at the airport, while the New York Times reported the missile struck an airport control tower, putting it out of service.
According to a statement published on Saudi TV by Turki al-Malki, spokesman of the US-backed Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen, at least 26 civilians were injured, eight of whom were admitted to a local hospital for treatment, while the rest received first aid at the Abha International airport, where the Houthi missile landed.
Al-Maliki confirmed that three women, including an Indian, Yemeni and Saudi, as well as two Saudi children, were among those wounded in the Houthi attack.
“In light of these terrorist and immoral transgressions by the Houthis, the coalition will take strict measures urgently and carefully to deter them,” al-Malki said. “This includes protecting civilians and civilian assets. The terrorist elements responsible for planning and carrying out this attack will be held accountable.”
Al-Maliki added that inspections are underway in order to figure out what type of missile hit the Saudi airport. Meanwhile, the same TV channel, Almaseera, reported earlier that the Houthis fired a cruise missile.
Shortly after the incident, the Houthi-linked Ansaru Allah group claimed responsibility for the rocket attack. The group said in a statement aired by the Houthi-run Almassera TV channel that the rocket hit an airport in a southern Saudi hilltop.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have led a coalition of Arab military operations in Yemen, in an attempt to rein in the Houthi rebel group.
The Saudis widely believe that the Houthis are backed by the neighboring Shite Muslims-majority Iran, with which Saudi Arabia has been at odds for decades.
Last month, Saudi air defense systems gunned down a Houthi-launched unmanned drone, loaded with explosives, over the Saudi Arabian-based Najran national airport.
The civil war in Yemen has so far caused the death of thousands of people and the displacement of many thousands of others.
The war also led to the deposition of Yemen’s former authoritarian president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, who remained in power for more than three decades.