Saudi coalition shoots down Houthi drone targeting airport

Saudi coalition shoots down Houthi drone targeting airport
Saudi air defences shot down a rebel drone allegedly en route to Abha airport, while a ballistic missile launched from Yemen failed to cross into Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
09 August, 2019
Saudi Arabia's Abha airport has been the target of a string of Houthi attacks [Getty]
Saudi-led coalition forces shot down a drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels from Sanaa province on Thursday night bound for Saudi airport in Abha, coalition spokesperson Colonel Turki al-Maliki has said.

“All attempts by the Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia to launch drones are doomed to fail,” al-Maliki said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the coalition also said the Houthis launched a ballistic missile from a marketplace in Hijja province, however the missile did not travel across the border.

The rebels, who have loose ties to the Iranian regime,have ramped up cross-border attacks in recent months. 

Rebel-held areas have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 which has inflicted a heavy civilian death toll and drawn criticism from the international community for triggering a dire humanitarian crisis.

Three attacks on Abha airport in as many months killed one person and injured a combined total of 56 civilians, according to the coalition.

The raids come amid heightened regional tensions as key Saudi ally the United States presses a "maximum pressure" campaign against its arch-rival Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, a charge Tehran denies.

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 Aden.

Since then, the conflict has killed at least 91,600 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, which tracks the violence.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.

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Agencies contributed to this report.