Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Saudi Arabia warns Yemen’s Houthis of ‘grave consequences’ after airport attack

The missile hit a civilian airport in the south-west mountain resort of Abha

Saudi Arabia on Thursday warned Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels that they faced "grave consequences" for a missile attack on an airport, which wounded 26 people a day earlier.

"The continuation of the Iranian regime's aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences," deputy defence minister Prince Khaled bin Salman tweeted.

Houthi rebels hit the civilian airport in the popular mountain resort of Abha in the south-west of the kingdom on Wednesday, damaging the arrivals hall and forcing its closure for several hours.

"We will confront the Houthi militia's crimes with unwavering resolve," Prince Khaled said. "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."

Warplanes from the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen bombed areas around the rebel-held capital Sanaa on Thursday.

The Houthis' Al Masirah TV said there had been raids on three sites, including military targets belonging to Houthi forces, on the outskirts of Sanaa.

Residents told Reuters the strikes had targeted military camps west and north of the city.

Riyadh and its allies intervened against the Houthis in March 2015, in support of the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

"The Iranian regime is the only party in the region that has been pursuing reckless escalation, through the use of ballistic missiles and drones to directly target civilian installations and innocent civilians," Prince Khaled said.

"For 40 years, the Iranian regime has been spreading chaos, death and destruction by sponsoring and financing terrorist organisations, including the Houthis."

There has been a spate of rebel attacks on Saudi targets in recent weeks.

A Houthi military spokesman on Tuesday threatened that the group would target every airport in Saudi Arabia and that the coming days would reveal "big surprises".

Since 2015, the conflict in Yemen 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 24.1 million Yemenis – more than two thirds of the population – in need of aid.

Updated: June 14, 2019 11:36 AM

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