Civilian Plane In Saudi Arabia Set On Fire By Yemeni Rebels

Saudi state television | Khaled Abdullah

Earlier on Wednesday, Houthi rebels attacked the Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia (KSA), setting on fire a civilian plane, an act of aggression that threatens to heighten the ongoing war in Yemen, according to the Saudi state-owned television, Al-Ekhbariya.

“A cowardly terrorist attack by the Houthi militia on Abha international airport. A civilian plane within the airport grounds was exposed to a fire,” reported Al-Ekhbaria that prompted to reassure that firefighters took charge, bringing the blaze under control.

Abha International Airport. Photo by: Amr Nabil.

No civilian casualties were reported and flights at Abha airport resumed later on.

Soon after the attack, Houthi claimed responsibility for the attack.

The military spokesman of the Iran-backed militia, Yehia Sarea, declared that the Houthis used four bomb-laden drones to attack the airport.

“This targeting comes in response to the continued aerial bombardment and the brutal siege on our country,” Sarea said, emphasizing that the Houthis see the Saudi airport as a military target, not a civilian one.

This aggression by the Houthis on the airport, which is close to the border with Yemen, is the third drone-attack in a week. The two previous attacks were hindered by the Saudi military. It is however the first to target a civilian aircraft.

Interestingly, it came just a day after President Joe Biden revoked the earlier decision of Trump’s administration that designated the Houthi a terrorist organization in January.

The ongoing conflict between the Saudi-led military and the Houthis erupted six years ago when the rebels took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa, and much of the country’s north. Their controlled territory is estimated at about 80% of the country.

Back then, in March 2015, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, intervened to force out the Houthi rebels and put back in place the internationally recognized government.

Saudi officials have previously put the blame on Iran for providing weapons and ballistic missiles to the Houthis, used in similar attacks against the country.

Houthi rebels raise their weapons during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, February 25, 2020. Photo by: Hani Mohammed.

While credible evidence backs up the Saudi’s claims, Tehran has explicitly denied arming the Houthis.

The Houthis have control over northern Yemen, from where they have repeatedly targeted international airports, as well as military installations and critical oil infrastructure, within Saudi Arabia. 

The coalition has in the past responded with air strikes on Houthi military sites.

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Civilian Plane In Saudi Arabia Set On Fire By Yemeni Rebels

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