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Yemen Houthi attack wounds 26 at Saudi airport

The Houthis have ramped up attacks on the kindom [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 June, 2019

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A Yemeni rebel missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded 26 civilians on Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

At least 26 civilians were wounded on Wednesday after a Yemen rebel missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

Eight of those wounded at Abha airport were admitted to hospital, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency

The other 18 were discharged after receiving first aid.

Abha, capital of Asir province, lies high in the lush Asir mountains and is a popular getaway for Saudis seeking escape from the searing summer heat of Riyadh or Jeddah.

Malki said an unidentified "projectile" hit the airport which is used by thousands of passengers a day.

He said at least one Indian was among three women wounded along with two Saudi children.

Malki described the incident as a "terrorist attack" on a civilian target which could be considered a "war crime."

He said the coalition would "take stern action" to deter the rebels and protect civilians.

The Houthi rebels said earlier that they had launched a missile at the airport in the Saudi mountain resort city.

The Iranian-allied Houthis have increasingly targeted the kingdom with bomb-carrying drones and have rejected Saudi claims that their attacks are directed by Iran, instead blaming the attacks on Riyadh's rejection of peace initiatives in Yemen.

Last month the Houthis claimed several drone attacks targeting oil installations and airports in Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Houthis justify attacks on Saudi Arabia as 'response to spurned peace moves'

Houthi drone attacks briefly shut down a major oil pipeline in the kingdom, as well as allegedly targeting military installations at Najran airport.

Saudi Arabia confirmed the attacks but claimed the Houthis had attempted to strike civilian infrastructure at the airport.

Airports in the Middle East are frequently home to both civilian and military aviation bases.

The Saudi-led coalition responded to those drone strikes with its own airstrikes in Yemen that killed dozens, including children.

Last week, Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarei told the rebel-run SABA news agency that fighters crossed over the border to seize Saudi military positions in the kingdom's southwestern Najran province. 

Houthi forces carried out a "surprise attack carried out along three separate axes" over a 72-hour period, Sarei said, claiming that 200 Saudi troops were killed in the offensives and that military equipment were seized by the rebels.

The Yemen conflict exacerbated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to reinstate the Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi government after the rebels overran the capital and other major cities.

The conflict, which forced Hadi to relocate to Saudi Arabia, has killed tens of thousands people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million - more than two-thirds of the population - in need of aid.

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