According to Saudi state television, a bomb-laden drone attacked an airport in southwest Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, injuring eight people and damaging another civilian plane. This attack was the latest in a series of attacks on the kingdom, which is currently fighting a war in Yemen.
The attack on Abha airport was the second in 24 hours. There was no immediate claim for responsibility. The earlier attack, blamed on Yemen’s Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, scattered shrapnel across the tarmac but caused no casualties.
The Saudi-led military alliance fighting the Houthis rebels in Yemen didn’t provide any details or explanations about the attack, other than to say that it had “intercepted the explosive drone”.
This attack came just days after drones and missiles crashed into a major military base in Yemen’s southern region, killing at least 30 Saudi-backed troops. It is also one of the most devastating attacks in Yemen’s long civil war. The strike was carried out by Iranian-supported rebels and no one claimed responsibility.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi-led military alliance have attacked international airports and military installations within Saudi Arabia since 2015.
These attacks, which often struck near Jizan and Abha in the south, did not cause significant damage, but left many wounded, killed at least one person, and rattled the global oil markets. The Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen has been criticized for its killing of civilians and hitting non-military targets such as hospitals and wedding parties. It also destroyed infrastructure in the Arab world’s poorest nation.
The Yemen war is now in a deadlock, despite international diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting. In recent months, the Houthis have intensified their efforts to seize control of Marib, the oil-rich capital of government, and increased their cross-border attacks against the kingdom.
The war in Yemen began in 2014 when rebels took Sanaa and large swathes of Yemen’s north. Months later, the Saudi-led military alliance intervened to dislodge Houthis and restore internationally recognized government.
This war has resulted in the death of approximately 1,30,000 people, and caused the worst humanitarian catastrophe in history.