Yemen's Houthi rebels say Saudi airports 'out of service' after new drone attacks

Yemen's Houthi rebels say Saudi airports 'out of service' after new drone attacks
The twin strikes follow two previous attacks by the Houthi rebels on Abha airport in Saudi Arabia this week.
2 min read
16 June, 2019
The Houthis have increased their drone strikes on Saudi targets since last month [Getty]
Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday rendered the Abha and Jizan airports in Saudi Arabia "unoperational" in new drone strikes, the group's Al-Masirah TV claimed.

The attack marks the third such strike on Saudi Arabia by the Iran-linked rebel group this week, and one of many since the Houthis ramped up drone attacks and rocket strikes on the neighbouring kingdom last month.

The Saudi-led coalition announced on Saturday evening it had "intercepted" and shot down a Houthi drone, according to the Saudi state news agency.

It added that the Houthis had attempted to target "civilian installations", but had not succeeded.

The Houthis claim the twin attacks left the two airports "out of service" through "exact" drone strikes on the control centre at Jizan airport and the fuel station at Abha airport.

Tensions in the Gulf have skyrocketed between Saudi Arabia, the US and allies, and Iran.

Sabotage attacks on oil tankers this week and last month have been pinned on Iran - as have Houthi-directed drone strikes on a major Saudi oil pipeline last month.

The Houthis deny their attacks on Saudi Arabia are directed by Iran, instead claiming the attacks are motivated by Saudi Arabia's failure to comply with peace initiatives in Yemen.

The kingdom has been at the helm of an international coalition war on Yemen since 2015.

The war has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with almost 25 million people in need of aid.

The Abha, Jizan and Najran airports in southern Saudi Arabia have been frequent targets of Houthi drone and rocket strikes.

While the Houthis say they target military installations such as drone or warplane hangars - airports across the Middle East often host both military and civilian services - Saudi Arabia claims such strikes have either been intercepted or struck civilian airport installations.

Such attacks have often led to retaliatory strikes on Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.

The coalition hit the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday and Saturday after an attack on Abha airport on Wednesday which wounded 26 people according to Saudi officials.

The kingdom also said it intercepted five Houthi drones targeting Abha airport on Friday.