Houthi Drones Again Attack Saudi Airport, Hours After Saudi-Led Raids
“Our operations will continue unabated, in response to crimes committed by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition.”
The Houthi rebel-run Al Masirah TV channel reported on Thursday that a large-scale drone attack by the Houthi-linked Ansaru Allah rebel group struck the Abha airport in the south of Saudi Arabia.
A military spokesperson for the Houthi rebels, Yahya Saree, revealed that a number of unmanned drones, loaded with explosives, were launched at the Abha airport’s runway and caused a disruption in navigation systems.
Attacks to Continue
Saree said that the latest attack was in response to a series of Saudi-led coalition raids on different parts of Yemen conducted over the past 12 hours.
“Our operations will continue unabated, in response to crimes committed by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition. As long as the aggression and siege against our country remain in place, we will continue our operations and we would urge all flight firms to stay away from all Saudi airports and military bases, as these sites have become legitimate targets for us,” Saree said in a statement.
However, Saudi Arabia has refuted the claims that Houthi rebels targeted a Saudi Arabian airport and said instead the drone attacks were intercepted by Saudi Arabia and shot down.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki, a spokesperson for Saudi Arabia, said the Houthi reports were false and a reflection of the militia’s “desperation.” Al-Maliki also called the Houthi attacks on civilian areas a war crime and vowed the Saudi coalition would continue to fight the aggressions, as Arab News reported.
Houthi Drone Attacks
Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabian territories have been reported frequently over the past several months. The attacks have so far injured dozens, including Saudi citizens and internationals, who happened to be present at the targeted airports.
The latest attack by the Houthi rebels of Yemen came as tension in the region mounted after a retaliatory attack by the Saudi Arabia-led Arab military coalition targeted Houthi strongholds across Yemen.
The Arab military coalition has been at war with the Houthi rebels since March 2015. In recent weeks, the Houthis began an offensive campaign in Saudi Arabia using unmanned explosives-laden drones to target the Saudi Arabian Abha airport. Previous attacks on Saudi airports were launched on June 12, June 23, July 4 and July 9, injuring a combined 47 civilians.
Yemen Civil War
Fighting in Yemen began five years ago when Houthi rebels took control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa in late 2014.
Mass protests and the Houthi rebel group forced the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi from power in 2015. Hadi is now reportedly residing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The civil war has its roots in the 2011 Arab Spring which led to a 2011 Yemen uprising that eventually forced the end of the 32-year-long regime of Yemen’s late president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The uprising grew into a military conflict in 2014 and has since caused the death of thousands of people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more.
United Nations’ data suggests that 22 million residents, constituting 75 percent of Yemen’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance as northern and southern parts of the country are still subject to frequent violence.