Saudi-led coalition airstrikes pound Yemen after Houthi airport attack

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes pound Yemen after Houthi airport attack
The Saudi-led coalition unleashed a barrage of airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday, just a day after a Houthi attack on an airport in the kingdom injured 26 passengers.
3 min read
13 June, 2019
The Saudi-led coalition vowed stern action against Houthi attacks [Getty]
Saudi-led coalition jets pounded Yemen's capital on Thursday, residents and the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said, just a day after the military alliance vowed to respond to attacks.

The airstrikes targeted military camps west and north of Sanaa, Reuters reported, with local media specifying eight raids hit the Special Forces camp in the Sabahah area, while two others struck the Houthi-controlled al-Siyana camp.

The fighters also launched a raid on a mountain at the Bani Hashish administration and several strikes on Dhamar, 100km south of Sanaa, local media 7adramout said.

The strikes came in response to a suspected Houthi rebel attack on a civilian airport in the popular mountain resort of Abha in the southwest of the kingdom on Wednesday, damaging the arrivals hall and forcing its closure for several hours.

At least 26 civilians were wounded in what Riyadh described as a "terrorist" attack, vowing to "take stern action" to deter the rebels and protect civilians.

Read more: Middle East drone wars heat up in Yemen

Prince Khalid, a son of King Salman and the brother of notorious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - the architect of the deadly Yemen war - unleashed a war or words on the Houthis in the aftermath of the attack, which he blamed on their "patrons" Iran.

"We will confront the Houthi militia's crimes with unwavering resolve. Their targeting of a civilian airport exposes to the world the recklessness of Iran's escalation and the danger it poses to regional security and stability," he tweeted.

"The continuation of the Iranian regime’s aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias will result in grave consequences. The international community must carry out it's responsibility to avoid this outcome."

The Houthis have increasingly targeted the kingdom with bomb-carrying drones and have rejected Saudi claims that their attacks are directed by Iran, instead blaming the attacks on Riyadh's rejection of peace initiatives in Yemen.

Last month the Houthis claimed several drone attacks targeting oil installations and airports in Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Houthis justify attacks on Saudi Arabia as 'response to spurned peace moves'

Houthi drone attacks briefly shut down a major oil pipeline in the kingdom, as well as allegedly targeting military installations at Najran airport

Saudi Arabia confirmed the attacks but claimed the Houthis had attempted to strike civilian infrastructure at the airport.

Airports in the Middle East are frequently home to both civilian and military aviation bases.

The Saudi-led coalition, which itself has been accused by rights group of violating international laws for its killing of civilians in Yemen, responded to those drone strikes with its own airstrikes in that killed dozens, including children.

Last week, Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarei told the rebel-run SABA news agency that fighters crossed over the border to seize Saudi military positions in the kingdom's southwestern Najran province. 

Houthi forces allegedly carried out a "surprise attack carried out along three separate axes" over a 72-hour period, Sarei said, claiming that 200 Saudi troops were killed in the offensives and that military equipment were seized by the rebels.

There was no comment from Saudi Arabia about the alleged assault.

The Yemen conflict exacerbated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to reinstate the Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi government after the rebels overran the capital and other major cities.

The conflict, which forced Hadi to relocate to Saudi Arabia, has killed tens of thousands people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million - more than two-thirds of the population - in need of aid.

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