Houthis Attack Saudi Arabian Civilian Airport Again, Civilians Injured
An airport in southern Saudi Arabia was attacked by Houthi rebel forces over the weekend for the fourth time in a month.
The Yemen-based, Houthi-linked Ansar Allah militant group claimed responsibility early on Tuesday for attacking with an explosives-laden drone a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia. The attack on Abha airport caused the injury of 9 civilians, according to Saudi officials.
A spokesperson for the Saudi Arabia-led Arab military coalition for Yemen, Turki Almalki, said in a statement shortly after the attack that the coalition considers this latest assault by Houthis a further violation of all international norms and standards that ensure protection for civilian persons in times of conflicts.
“Using explosives-laden drones this way proves that Iran must be involved in supporting the Houthi rebels. We in the military coalition for Yemen will take every possible step to encounter the Houthis and will finally bring them to justice, in accordance with relevant international laws and standards,” Almalki was quoted as saying.
The Houthi rebels have previously denied any links to Shi’ite-Muslim Iran and said that the Saudi accusations of links to Iran are intended to distract from human rights violations and atrocities in Yemen perpetrated by the Saudi Arabia-led Arab military coalition.
Over the weekend, the Ansaru Allah group reportedly attacked the southwestern Yemeni city of Ta’az, claiming the lives of four civilians and injuring eight others.
Local sources told media outlets that the weekend artillery shelling “targeted a gathering of civilians while receiving relief supplies in the eastern neighborhood of Abu Dabah.”
Sources with the internationally-backed Yemeni government confirmed that due to the seriousness of the causalities, the local hospital declared a state of emergency and called for blood donations.
The latest attacks by the Houthi rebels of Yemen came as tension in the region has mounted after a retaliatory attack by the Saudi Arabia-led Arab military coalition targeted Houthi strongholds across the country.
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 the airport were launched on June 12 and June 23, 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.