Yemen’s Houthis target Saudi airports

A graphic aimed at Saudi and Emirati civilians released by the Houthi’s Al Masirah News channel. It reads: “For your safety: Avoid airports and military locations.”

Over the span of 24 hours, Yemen’s Houthi insurgent movement has twice targeted the Abha international airport with missiles and suicide drones.

At least 26 people were wounded on Wednesday after the Houthis launched a cruise missile at the Abha airport. Video of the bombing released by Saudi Arabia shows the moment the missile struck the airport. The use of a cruise missile on a civilian infrastructure represents a major shift in the war between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi insurgents.

Speaking to the Houthi-ran Al Masirah News, an official spokesman said that the strike came in response to Saudi aggression in Yemen and civilians should avoid “vital and military areas as they have become legitimate targets to us.”

Al Masirah adds that this is the second time that Houthi forces have launched a cruise missile attack, alluding to the reported cruise missile attack in Abu Dhabi in December 2017. However, UAE officials quickly denied this claim at the time.

Yesterday, the Houthis again stated its forces targeted the Abha airport. However, the group claimed using its Qasef-2 suicide drones. Saudi officials, however, have stated that five drones were shot down.

Qasef-2 drones have been used by the Houthis in the past, including an assassination attempt on several high-ranking Yemeni military officers.

This is also not the first time the Houthis have used drones to attack Saudi airports. On May 21, the Houthis stated to have used a Qasef-2 to strike a military depot at Saudi’s Najran airport.

One day later, it alleged another drone strike on the Najran airport; while on May 23, yet another drone strike on the airport was claimed by the group.

On May 26, the Houthis declared its forces hit the Jizan airport with a drone strike – a statement that was denied by Saudi officials. Earlier this month, the Houthis again said that the Jizan airport was hit by a flurry of drone strikes but this was not confirmed by Saudi Arabia.

Last summer, the Houthis maintained its drones targeted the Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates. But UAE officials quickly denied this claim, refuting the Houthi statement that air traffic was greatly disrupted at the airport.

The Houthis have also used its weaponized drone program to target Saudi oil pipelines. Last month, it launched seven drones at Saudi’s major East-West pipeline. While Saudi officials downplayed the incident, the country was forced to halt pumping through the pipeline for several days.

Much like with the movement’s ballistic missile program, Iran is widely suspected of providing significant support to the Houthi’s drone effort.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Curly4 says:

    Saudi Arabia is being condemned by leaders of world governments and politicians and the press for the attacks against civilians but where is the condemnation of the Houthis rebels? It seams that the condemnation is only one way.

  • KW64 says:

    I doubt this agressive behavior by Iran and its proxies will change the sanctions regime under this US administration. It might work with the next one.

  • Mohamed a saleh says:

    There will never be peace in Yemen or south Arabia as long as these thugs still alive.


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