Unidentified ‘projectile’ fired by Yemeni rebels injures 26 at Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport; one Indian among wounded

Riyadh: A Yemeni rebel missile attack on Abha airport in south-western Saudi Arabia wounded 26 civilians on Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

 Unidentified ‘projectile’ fired by Yemeni rebels injures 26 at Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport; one Indian among wounded

Representational image. Reuters

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said an unidentified "projectile" hit the airport which is used by thousands of passengers a day.

Eight of those wounded at Abha airport were admitted to hospital, Malki added. The other 18 were discharged after receiving first aid, he added in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. He said at least one Indian was among three women wounded along with two Saudi children. Flights were disrupted for several hours before returning to normal.

Abha, capital of Asir province, lies high in the Asir mountains and is a popular getaway for Saudis seeking escape from the searing summer heat of Riyadh or Jeddah. The Houthi rebels had said earlier that they had launched a missile at the airport in the Saudi mountain resort city.

Yemen's Houthi rebels have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 which has resulted in a heavy civilian death toll. The rebels have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks.

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.

On Monday, Saudi air defences had intercepted two rebel drones headed for Khamis Mushait. The city, not far east of Abha, houses a major airbase that has been one of the main launchpads for the coalition's bombing campaign in Yemen.

Last month, the Saudi air force shot down a rebel drone that targeted Jizan airport on the Red Sea coast close to the Yemeni border, the coalition said.

The rebel attacks come as SPA reported the coalition was intensifying air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah.

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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2019 16:48:39 IST