Dozens of civilians were reportedly injured on Tuesday in a missile strike by the Houthis on Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia.
The Yemeni rebel group said that its missile force had launched a “cruise missile” at the strategic airport, which has a large military part. A spokesman for the group said that “advanced U.S. air-defense systems” deployed inside the airport were not able to intercept the missile.
“A cruise missile targeted the control tower directly, which resulted in its destruction,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, said in a short press release.
Contrary to the Houthis’ claims, the Saudi-led coalition said that the missile hit the arrival hall in the airport injuring 26 civilians, including three women and two children.
Most of the injured civilians were treated on spot. However, 8 were transported to nearby hospitals.
“The Iran-backed Houthi terrorist militia, through its media, claimed full responsibility for this terrorist act using a cruise missile – as they claim- which constitutes a clear recognition and full responsibility for the targeting of civilians and civilian places that are subject to special protection under international humanitarian law, this may amount to a war crime,” a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Col. Turki al-Malki, said in an official statement.
Col. al-Malki said that the coalition’s experts are now working to determine the type of missile used in the attack on Abha International Airport.
Prior footage of Houthi ballistic missile launches on Saudi Arabia:
#BREAKING: It is now confirmed that the #IRGC's #Houthi rebels have used Soumar cruise missile (Iranian copy of #Russian Kh-55 missile) to target the #Abha Intl airport in S. #SaudiArabia today. Back on 3rd Dec. 2017, they unsuccessfully launched a Soumar at #AbuDhabi, #UAE. 👇👇 pic.twitter.com/HdKyCUjcBu— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) June 12, 2019
The Houthis have a track record of using precision-guided weapons. In 2017, the Iranian-backed group launched what is suspected to be an Iranian Soumar cruise missile at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE.
The upcoming hours will likely reveal additional details about the unusual attack, which was another demonstration of the Houthis’ growing capabilities.