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Yemen Houthi rebels threaten to attack UAE and Saudi airports

Yemen's Houthis are at war with Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2017

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Airports and ports in the UAE and Saudi Arabia could become targets of Houthi missiles, the Yemeni rebel group warned this week.

Yemen's Houthi rebels issued a warning to the UAE and Saudi Arabia this week, warning its fighters could strike airports, ports and other civilian infrastructure in the countries.

The Houthis said it could retaliate against the lead partners in the Arab military coalition fighting the rebels, after Saudi Arabia and the UAE expanded its siege on Yemen on Monday.

"All airports, ports, border crossings and areas of any importance to Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be a direct target of our weapons, which is a legitimate right," read a statement released by the rebels' political office.

The threat came after the Saudi-led coalition effectively sealed Yemen off from the outside world, closing its ports and airports. Two humanitarian flights were denied access to the war-torn country on Monday.

Riyadh said it closed ports of entry to Yemen to vet flights and ships entering the country, believing Iran to be smuggling weapons to the Houthis and their allies.

Aid agencies have warned that the decision to strengthen the blockade will be disastrous for civilians in the country, where hunger and disease are widespread.

"If these channels, these lifelines are not kept open it is catastrophic for people who are already in what we have said is the world's worst humanitarian crisis at the moment," warned Jens Laerke spokesman for the Office for the Co-ordination for Humanitarian Affairs, according to the BBC.

"So this is an access problem of colossal dimensions right now."

Other humanitarian groups and workers have warned of complete disaster for Yemeni citizens if the blockade continues.

Saudi Arabia threatened Iran and the Houthi rebels after a missile fired by rebels in Yemen travelled hundreds of miles to reach the capital Riyadh.

It said the missile was shot down by Saudi air defences but footage have shown the rocket flying overhead close to Riyadh International Airport, spreading fear in the country.

Riyadh has blamed Iran for the attack and accused Tehran of supplying the rocket that was fired at the Saudi capital.

"Experts in military technology [have] confirmed the role of Iran's regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests," the Saudi-led command said in a statement.

The threat comes after an Iranian newspaper linked to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Houthis could attack a number of targets in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The editorial listed Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and Aramco as potential targets for the rebels.

Saudi Arabia has led a punishing air campaign against Houthi-held areas in Yemen, which has led to untold suffering.

More than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the war many from Saudi air strikes that are believed to have hit hospitals, funeral halls and markets.

 

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