Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

US condemns Houthi drone attacks launched at Saudi Arabia

Iran-backed rebels have increased attacks on kingdom's mainly southern provinces this week

Houthi rebels have targeted Riyadh in the past with missiles and drones. AFP
Houthi rebels have targeted Riyadh in the past with missiles and drones. AFP

The US condemned on Thursday attacks launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia this week.

The Iran-backed group has increased attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, mainly on southern provinces along their shared border.

"These attacks were launched indiscriminately towards Riyadh, and risked the lives of innocent civilians, including Americans," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

"For years Saudi Arabia has endured these types of reckless attacks and for the past week, these attacks have occurred almost daily."

The attacks coincides with the rebels' "declared desire to strengthen their ties with Iran."

"Just this month, the Iranian regime smuggled Hassan Irloo, a member of the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), into Sana’a, Yemen’s Houthi-occupied capital."

Mr Irloo has been announced as Iran's ambassador to Yemen.

"These acts demonstrate that the Houthis are not serious about seeking a political solution in order to bring peace to Yemen," Mr Pompeo said.

It comes as US officials warned of a possible strike on Riyadh on Wednesday, as missile attacks were intercepted.

But the US embassy in Riyadh warned American citizens in the capital to stay on "alert" and "take necessary precautions".

"The embassy is tracking reports of possible missiles or drones that may be headed towards Riyadh today," the embassy said on its website, without offering any details.

Houthi rebels have targeted Riyadh in the past with missiles and drones, but the coalition claimed to have intercepted most of them.

Riyadh is about 700 kilometres north of the border with Yemen.

Hours after the embassy statement, the coalition said six bomb-laden drones launched by the rebels towards the kingdom had been intercepted, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The rebels launched the drones "deliberately and systematically to target civilians" in the kingdom, said coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki.

The coalition also later intercepted a rebel ballistic missile targeting southern Jizan province, and destroyed two other targets in the air, state television said.

Yemen is mired in civil war between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control territory in the country’s north, and the government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, assisted by western powers including the US.

The attacks come amid intense fighting in recent months, as the Houthis try to seize control of Marib province, 120 kilometres east of Sanaa.

Iran has been supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, who have been fighting the government since 2014.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the conflict the following year.

Updated: October 29, 2020 07:08 PM

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