Saudi Arabia warns Iran over Houthi attack

"The continuation of the Iranian regime's aggression" will result in "grave consequences," said Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman.
Thursday 13/06/2019
Debris is seen at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 12, 2019. (Saudi Press Agency via Reuters)
Debris is seen at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 12, 2019. (Saudi Press Agency via Reuters)

RIYADH - Riyadh accused its arch-foe Tehran on Thursday of ordering a Yemeni rebel missile strike which wounded 26 people at the Saudi airport of Abha and warned of "grave consequences."

"The continuation of the Iranian regime's aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences," Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman tweeted.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels hit the civilian airport in the popular mountain resort of Abha in the south-west of the kingdom on Wednesday, damaging the arrival's hall and forcing its closure for several hours.

"We will confront the Huthi militia's crimes with unwavering resolve," said Prince Khaled, a son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

"Their targeting of a civilian airport exposes to the world the recklessness of Iran's escalation and the danger it poses to regional security and stability," he added. 

Riyadh has accused the rebels of functioning as Iranian proxies since leading a military campaign against them in March 2015.

"The Iranian regime is the only party in the region that has been pursuing reckless escalation, through the use of ballistic missiles and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to directly target civilian installations and innocent civilians," Prince Khaled said.

"For 40 years, the Iranian regime has been spreading chaos, death and destruction, by sponsoring and financing terrorist organisations including the Huthis."

A number of Houthi attacks have targeted Saudi Arabia in recent weeks as coalition strikes  on rebel strongholds reportedly intensify on the other side of the border.

The rebels say that missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia are one of few ways they can retaliate against more than four years of bombing by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

(AW staff and agencies)