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Houthis warn Riyadh, Abu Dhabi within reach if Hodeida truce breaks down

The Houthi leader threatened to launch missiles that could reach Saudi and Emirati capitals [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 April, 2019

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Houthi rebel leader threatened to launch missiles that could reach Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the event of a flare up in violence in Hodeida.
Yemen's Houthi rebels warned the Saudi-led alliance against escalating violence in the main Yemeni port city of Hodeida, threatening to launch missiles that could reach Riyadh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the group's leader said.

"Our missiles are capable of reaching Riyadh and beyond Riyadh, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi," Abdul Malik al-Houthi told Houthi-run Masirah TV.

"It is possible to target strategic, vital, sensitive and influential targets in the event of any escalation in Hodeida," he said. "We are able to strongly shake the Emirati economy."

Last month, similar threats were made by the rebel military spokesman Yahya Saree who said the group has "aerial photographs and coordinates of dozens of headquarters, facilities and military bases of the enemy".

"The legitimate targets of our forces extend to the capital of Saudi Arabia and to the emirate of Abu Dhabi," capital of the UAE, he said.

"We have manufactured advanced generations of attack aircraft, and new systems will soon be functional."

Yemen's four-year devastating war pits the rebels against the a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Houthi rebels have repeatedly fired ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia and even claimed attacks on airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two main cities of the UAE, which turned out to be false.

Earlier this month, Saudi air defences intercepted two drones launched by Houthi rebels from neighbouring Yemen but debris wounded five civilians, including a child, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

The drones targeted Khamis Mushait, home to a major airbase in the southwest of kingdom, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"At 9:35pm (6:35pm GMT) on Tuesday, the Royal Saudi Air Defence systems detected two unidentified objects headed towards civilian (areas)," he said, adding they were "intercepted and destroyed".

Saudi Arabia has claimed all Houthi missiles have been intercepted by air defences, but admitted one civilian was killed by shrapnel. Meanwhile, the UAE has denied coming under missile attack.

The rebels say their missile attacks have targeted air-bases from which the coalition has conducted a devastating bombing war since March 2015 in support of the Yemeni government.

Saudi Arabia and its military allies joined the Yemeni government's war against the Houthis in March 2015, triggering what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Some 10 million Yemenis face mass starvation, according to the UN, which accuses both sides to the conflict of acts that could amount to war crimes.

The World Health Organisation says more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the military intervention in March 2015, however, rights groups and conflict monitors believe the toll could be seven times higher.

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