Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement has launched a missile attack on the Abha International Airport in south-western Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Wednesday morning and injuring at least 26 civilians.
Saudi military spokesman Col Turki al-Maliki was quoted by the country’s state media as saying that the missile fired by the Houthis hit the arrival hall of the airport at 02:21 on Wednesday, Three women – one Yemeni, one Indian and one Saudi – and two Saudi children were among those hurt. The colonel continued that eight people were taken to hospital after suffering moderate injuries, while 18 others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
A rebel Houthi source claimed the attack was a precision strike. Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in March 2015, when Houthi rebels allegedly with support from Iran seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.
Alarmed by the rise of a faction supported by Iran, its arch-foe in the region, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of eight other like-minded Arab states and began an air campaign to back Yemen’s internationally-recognized government.
Col Maliki said the attack on a civilian airport, which is about 200km north of the border with Yemen, was a serious violation of international humanitarian law and that it might constitute a war crime.The coalition,he said, would “take urgent and timely measures to deter this terrorist militia, and to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects.”
Col Maliki said work was under way to identify the type of missile involved, but Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV cited a rebel source as saying that ‘the attack was a precision strike with a cruise missile, which the sophisticated US defense systems were unable to stop.The attack caused panic and fear among the enemy and great confusion in their rank”.
Al-Masirah TV reported that it was the second time the Houthis claimed to have fired a cruise missile; the first was on a nuclear power station in Abu Dhabi in the UAE in December 2017. A military spokesperson for the rebels also promised earlier this week to target every airport in Saudi Arabia and that the coming days would witness “big surprises”.
In response to the attack, H.H. the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has strongly condemned the Houthi missile attack on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia, which wounded scores of people.
This heinous attack deliberately targets the lives of innocent people and threatens Saudi Arabia’s security, showing complete disregard for humanitarian principles, His Highness the Amir wrote in a letter he sent to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar messages to the Saudi king.