Eight injured as Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport hit by Houthi drone

Bomb-laden unmanned aircraft also damaged a civilian plane

An explosives-laden drone struck Abha airport in south-western Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, injuring eight people and damaging an Airbus 320 civilian aircraft.

It was the second such strike on the airport in 24 hours.

“A second drone attempting to attack Abha International Airport was intercepted and shot down,” the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said in a statement reported by the kingdom’s official Al Ekhbariya television channel.

“Eight people were wounded and a civilian aircraft was damaged, according to initial information,” it said.

The coalition said the second attack on the airport “constitutes a war crime”.

Al Ekhbariya said shrapnel had hit parts of the airport near the runway, after the coalition intercepted the first drone.

It said flights had been put on hold “to ensure the safety of incoming and departing aircraft, as well as civilians at the airport”.

Although there was no immediate claim of an attack, the Iran-supported Houthis have been repeatedly aiming at vital institutions in Saudi Arabia. In August, the rebels escalated operations, using drones and missiles.

The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said it considered the attack a “dangerous escalation and a cowardly act” and said it was a war crime.

“The UAE stands by Saudi Arabia against all threats against its security and stability and supports Saudi Arabia in all the procedures it takes to maintain its security and keep its residents and citizens safe,” the ministry statement said.

On Sunday, the Houthis attacked a military base in Yemen's Lahij province, killing 40 pro-government soldiers and injuring 92 others.

The Houthis attacked a training camp in Al Anad military base with several drones and ballistic missiles.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry and other regional governments condemned those attacks.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia renews its stand and solidarity with Yemen and calls for an end to the continued flow of weapons to the terrorist Houthi militia, preventing their export to Yemen, and ensuring that they do not violate any UN resolution,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

In a statement, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry confirmed its “solidarity with Yemen in its efforts to restore legitimacy and liberate the Yemeni governorates from the Houthis”.

It described the act as a “heinous attack perpetrated by the terrorist Houthi group which contradicts all moral, humanitarian values ​​and principles and seeks to destabilise security and stability in the region”.

The ministry expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, the government and the Yemeni people.

Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi expressed condolences for the dead and said the “Houthis will pay heavily for all the crimes they have committed against the people of Yemen”, the state news agency Saba reported.

Since 2015, Yemen's Houthi rebels battling the Saudi-led military coalition have aimed at international airports, along with military installations and critical oil infrastructure, within Saudi Arabia.

Updated: September 1st 2021, 5:45 AM
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