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Saudi Arabia seals 'all Yemen borders' after Houthi missile

Saudi Arabia said it would temporarily close all land, air and sea ports [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2017

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The Saudi-led coalition has enforced a new embargo on Yemen, closing land, sea and air links to the war-torn country.

Yemen's air, sea and land borders were shut down by the Saudi-led coalition on Monday, after the kingdom intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile over Riyadh two days earlier.

The Saudi statement said that the borders were being closed "to fill the gaps in the inspection procedures which enable the continued smuggling of missiles and military equipment" to the Houthi rebels, which it blames on regional-rival Iran.

But despite the temporary closure of the air, sea and land ports, Saudi Arabia claimed it would protect "the entry and exit of relief and humanitarian personnel".

The comments came after Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile, which was launched from Yemen.

Iran has dismissed the claims that it has provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis.

"The claim that the missile was delivered to Yemen by Iran is baseless," Iran's Major General Jafari said on Sunday.

He said the Yemeni rebels are capable of manufacturing their own weapons and have no need for Iranian assistance.

Houthi rebels said they fired a Burqan 2H at Riyadh, which landed close to the city's international airport.

The strike surprised many in the country and highlights the growing sophistication of the rebels' arsenal.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of supplying Houthis with weapons via air, land and sea links.

More than 10,000 people have since been killed since the military intervention, according to the United Nations.

A cholera outbreak has claimed more than 2,100 lives in Yemen since April as hospitals struggle to secure supplies amid a coalition air and sea blockade.

The UN has warned Yemen now stands on the brink of famine.

The coalition was briefly included on the annual list of shame last year before a threat by Saudi Arabia to cut off its funding to UN programmes forced a reversal.

Human rights groups have urged governments backing the coalition, including the US, UK and France, to suspend all weapons sales to the Gulf monarchy.

 

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