By SJA Jafri + Agencies
MELBOURNE/ RIYADH: A Yemeni rebel attack on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia killed a Syrian national and wounded seven civilians Sunday, a Riyadh-led coalition said, the latest in a series of strikes on the site.
“A terrorist attack by the Iranian-backed Huthi militia took place at Abha international airport, through which thousands of civilian passengers… pass daily,” the military coalition said.
“A Syrian national died and several among women and children were wounded,” it added, in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The coalition did not provide details on how the airport was attacked, but Iran-aligned Huthi rebels have repeatedly struck the civilian facility this month with drones and missiles.
Earlier on Sunday, the rebels’ Al-Masirah TV said they had targeted Abha and Jizan airports in the south of the kingdom with drones.
Abha airport authorities said on Twitter that air traffic had resumed and was functioning normally, without offering further details.
On June 12, a rebel missile attack on the international airport in the southwestern city of Abha wounded 26 civilians, drawing promises of “stern action” from the coalition.
Human Rights Watch denounced last week’s strike as an apparent “war crime“, urging the Huthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
The attacks come amid heightened regional tensions with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused of supplying sophisticated weapons to the rebels.
Tehran denies the charge.
Saudi state media have reported an intensification of coalition air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah and the Huthi-held capital Sanaa.
The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.
Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.
It has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 24 million Yemenis – more than two-thirds of the population – in need of aid.
On Thursday the Saudi campaign in Yemen suffered a double blow as US lawmakers voted to block Trump’s arms sales to Riyadh, just hours after Britain temporarily suspended similar sales.
The coalition did not provide details on how the airport was attacked, but Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have repeatedly struck the civilian facility this month with drones and missiles.
“The UAE strongly condemns this terrorist act and labels it as a new evidence of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias’ hostile and terrorist tendencies to undermine security and stability in the region.”
“The UAE re-iterates its solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and stability and supports all measures taken by the Saudi government to maintain the security of its citizens and residents,” the statement continued.
“The security of the UAE and of the Kingdom is indivisible,” it noted, adding, “any threat or danger to Saudi Arabia’s security is considered a threat to UAE’s security and stability.”
The Ministry expressed condolences to the family of the Syrian victim and wished a quick recovery to the injured.