Houthi missile strike hits Saudi airport, injuring 26

Houthi missile strike hits Saudi airport, injuring 26

Earlier on Wednesday, the Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility on targeting the Abha airport by a cruise missile, saying that the missile "hit the target accurately".

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the military and security forces were working to determine the type of "hostile projectile" used in the attack.

The attack resulted in the injury of 26 civilians of different nationalities, the report said, adding that the wounded included one Indian woman and two Saudi children. The injuries ranged from moderate to minor, with eight of the wounded taken to hospitals for treatment.

Rana Ghanem, assistant secretary of Yemen's Nasser organisation, said that any action that targets civilians is considered a war crime.

Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authorities said that airport operations and air traffic had returned to normal. The coalition's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The attack follows an armed drone strike last month on two oil-pumping stations in the kingdom that was claimed by the Houthis.

"It also proves that these terrorist militias have received new weapons, and that the Iranian regime continues its support and practice of cross-border terrorism and the continuing violation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216 and Resolution 2231". Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering the attack.

Reuters, quoting unnamed Iranian officials, said Iran plans to ask Abe to mediate with the ease those sanctions.

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Those who struck the deal at the time described it as a building block toward further negotiations with Iran, whose Islamic government has had a tense relationship with America since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and subsequent hostage crisis.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe landed in Iran on Wednesday on a mission to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran, just hours after Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen fired a missile at Saudi airport.

"US' most advanced defense system could not intercept the missile which caused fear and confusion in the enemy's ranks".

The nearest Patriot battery to Abha airport is about 20 km to the north, said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East & Africa editor of Jane's Defense Weekly.

Arab allies of Saudi Arabia, including the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, also condemned Wednesday's attack.

The US Embassy in the Kingdom said on Twitter that it condemns "in the strongest possible terms the Houthi attack on innocent civilians at Abha airport".

But the unusually-high casualty toll is the latest signal that the group's attacks on the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"What is required is a clear and strict global stance towards the Houthis and their Iranian backing", said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.