Pakistan strongly condemns Houthi rebels’ assault on Saudi airport

Not less than 26 folks wounde­d after Yemeni rebels fired cruise missil­e at Abha airpor­t

DUBAI / KARACHI: Pakistan strongly condemned a missile assault by Houthi rebels on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia that wounded at the very least 26 folks on Wednesday.

“Pakistan reiterates its full help and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in opposition to any threats to its safety and territorial integrity,” stated a Overseas Workplace assertion.

The Saudi-led navy coalition has vowed to reply firmly to the assault on the Abha airport.

A coalition assertion stated a projectile hit the arrivals corridor at airport, inflicting materials injury. Three girls and two kids had been among the many wounded, who had been of Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationalities, it stated.

The Houthis stated on their media channels that that they had fired a cruise missile at Abha airport, which is about 200 km (125 miles) north of the Yemen border and serves home and regional routes.

“Proof signifies Iran’s Revolutionary Guards equipped the Houthis with the weapon that focused Abha airport,” Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV quoted the coalition as saying.

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The Saudi civil aviation physique instructed Reuters flight site visitors was presently operating usually on the airport. The Houthi media middle stated the strike destroyed the management tower. The coalition’s spokesman didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the declare.

The assault follows an armed drone strike final month on two oil-pumping stations within the kingdom that had been claimed by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering the assault, a cost that Tehran and the Houthi motion deny.

The coalition stated the strike on Abha airport may quantity to a struggle crime and it will take “pressing and well timed” measures in response.

“This assault additionally proves this terrorist militia’s acquisition of latest particular weapons; the continuation of the Iranian regime’s help and observe of cross-border terrorism…,” the coalition’s English-language assertion stated.

There was no speedy Iranian response.

A Houthi navy spokesman on Tuesday threatened that the group would goal each airport in Saudi Arabia and that the approaching days would reveal “massive surprises”.

The alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in Yemen in 2015 to attempt to restore the internationally recognised authorities that was ousted from energy within the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.

The battle is extensively seen within the area as a proxy struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being puppets of Iran and say their revolution is in opposition to corruption.

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A Houthi navy spokesman stated the assault on Abha airport was a response to the coalition’s “crimes” in opposition to Yemen. “Probably the most fashionable American techniques couldn’t intercept the missile,” he stated in feedback carried by the group’s media middle.

The coalition spokesman didn’t instantly reply when requested if the projectile had been intercepted by the dominion’s Patriot missiles earlier than hitting the airport.

The Houthis have beforehand focused Saudi cities with drones and missiles, most of which have been intercepted. In March 2018 an Egyptian was killed in Riyadh by missile shrapnel.

The closest Patriot battery to Abha airport is about 20 km to the north, stated Jeremy Binnie, Center East & Africa editor of Jane’s Protection Weekly. “A cruise missile would possibly be capable of are available in at a sufficiently low altitude that it couldn’t be engaged earlier than reaching its goal,” he stated.

The Houthis stepped up their assaults following a lull final yr forward of UN-led peace efforts. The coalition has responded by finishing up air strikes on Houthi-held Sanaa.

Arab allies of Saudi Arabia, together with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, additionally condemned Wednesday’s assault.

It came about in opposition to a backdrop of heightened US-Iranian pressure following Washington’s transfer to tighten sanctions on Tehran and to bolster its navy presence within the Gulf.

The escalation in violence may threaten a fragile UN-led peace initiative in Yemen’s fundamental port metropolis of Hodeidah, which handles the majority of the impoverished nation’s industrial and assist imports and is a lifeline for thousands and thousands of Yemenis.

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