A cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport launched from within Yemen has left at least 26 injured, officials in the desert kingdom have confirmed.
Houthi rebels in Yemen said they carried out the attack on the airport, in south-western Saudi Arabia, using cruise missiles. The Houthi rebels said the attacks were in response to “continued aggression” in Yemen by Saudi Arabia.
The number of wounded represent the largest civilian toll since Saudi Arabia became involved in the civil war in Yemen.
According to a Houthi military spokesman, the airport strike represents the beginning of a wider assault on Saudi as the group will target every airport in the kingdom. He said the coming days will reveal “big surprises”.
The Sun report: Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels promised to respond to what they said was a war crime.
According to Houthi-run Masirah TV, the rebels had launched a cruise missile attack on the airport, which is about 125 miles north of the border with Yemen.
Another Houthi spokesman, Brigadier General Yahia Sarie was quoted as saying that the missile hit and destroyed the airport’s traffic control tower. US-made air defense systems were unable to intercept the missile, he said.
The Saudi-led military coalition said, which has been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, said it would make a “firm” response.
A coalition statement, carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, said a projectile hit the arrivals hall at Abha airport, causing material damage.
Three women and two children were among the 26 wounded, who were of Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationalities, it said.
Eight people were hospitalised and 18 sustained minor injuries, coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said.
“Targeting Abha airport proves that the Houthis have obtained advanced weapons from Iran,” the coalition statement said, saying the attack could amount to a war crime.
The attack comes amid tensions in the Gulf, which has seen a massive US military build up in response to what it says are Iranian threats.
In May a pipeline in Saudi Arabia came under attack from drones armed with explosives flown by the rebels.
The Houthis have repeatedly launched drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities, but two Saudi sources said this was the first time an Aramco facility was hit by drones.