Saudi Arabia: Houthi rocket attack injures children in Dammam

Attack comes days after bomb-laden drone was launched towards Abha Airport in south of the kingdom

Two children were injured and 14 homes were damaged by falling debris on Saturday when Saudi Arabia’s air defences intercepted three ballistic missiles launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the kingdom’s Defence Ministry said.

Missile fragments were scattered over the eastern oil city of Dammam, causing damage to homes and injuring the two children, the ministry said. Twitter users in the city reported hearing a loud explosion.

The missiles targeted Dammam, in the country's eastern oil-producing region, as well as the southern cities of Najran and Jazan, the ministry said.

Three booby-trapped drones were also intercepted and destroyed, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen said.

"Saudi Air Defence has intercepted and destroyed three ballistic missiles and three bomb-laden drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia," coalition spokesman Brig Gen Turki Al Malki said.

The attacks were an example of "brutal, irresponsible behaviour" from the rebels in Yemen, he said.

The coalition told state-run TV it would take "strict measures" to protect civilians.

The UAE strongly condemned the attacks and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said systematic terrorist acts by the Houthis reflected the group's blatant disregard for the international community and all international laws and norms.

The UAE reiterated its support for all measures taken by Saudi Arabia's authorities to maintain the safety and security of citizens and residents.

Commenting on the attack, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “International law is very clear that civilian infrastructure should never be targeted.”

“This is completely unacceptable. These attacks threaten the lives of the Kingdom’s residents, including more than 70,000 US citizens,” the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. 

The US urged the Houthis again “to agree to a comprehensive ceasefire immediately and to stop these cross-border attacks and attacks inside of Yemen, particularly their offensive on Marib.”

“The Houthis must begin working toward a peaceful, diplomatic solution under UN auspices to end this conflict,” Mr Price said.

The Houthis claimed the attack saying that they were aiming at "vital installations". The Iran-backed rebels have repeatedly launched cross-border attacks on the kingdom.

In August, the rebels escalated cross-border operations using unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles.

The latest interceptions came four days after Saudi Arabian forces destroyed two drones launched towards Abha international airport in the south of the kingdom.

Eight people were injured and a civilian plane was damaged in that attack.

The wave of attacks came as UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg officially assumed his new role on Sunday.

He assured Yemenis that he would “do everything in my power to contribute to achieving a lasting and just peace in Yemen”.

"We will be relentless in the pursuit of peace. We will also remind all involved of their shared responsibility for Yemen’s future,” he said.

The eastern Saudi Arabia region is home to major oil infrastructure.

An attack in September 2019 disrupted oil production temporarily in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen conflict on behalf of the internationally recognised government, shortly after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2015.

The UN has said Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

While the UN is pushing for an end to the conflict, the Houthis have demanded the reopening of Sanaa airport, closed since 2016, before any agreement on negotiations or a ceasefire.

Updated: September 05, 2021, 10:19 PM