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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Qatar slams cross-border Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich eastern region


Saudi authorities said they intercepted three ballistic missiles targeting the kingdom’s oil-rich eastern region.

Qatar strongly condemned and denounced two attempts by Yemen’s Houthi rebels to target its Eastern Province and Najran, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) statement said.

The statement described the targeting of civilian installations and vital facilities as “an act of sabotage that violates all international norms and laws.”

MoFA reiterated Qatar’s firm position in rejecting violence, criminal and sabotage acts, regardless of motive and reason.

The Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels in Yemen earlier reported multiple ballistic missile attacks, the latest of which targeted the kingdom’s oil-rich eastern region and some cities in the south. The missiles were intercepted on Saturday, according to the coalition.

Read also: Qatar condemns Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport

The interception occurred over the Saudi city of Dammam, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. At least two Saudi children were injured by shrapnel from the missile, while homes of some 14 families sustained minor damages, Saudi state news agency SPA said, citing a statement by the defence ministry.

This was the second such rebel attack in days.

Last week, a drone launched by the Houthis hit Abha International Airport in the south of the kingdom, leaving at least eight people wounded and destroying a civilian aircraft. 

Among those injured were one Saudi national, a Nepalese national, three people from India and three from Bangladesh, one of which was reported to be in critical condition.

The coalition said in a statement on Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ekhbariya television channel that “a second drone attempting to attack Abha International Airport was intercepted and shot down.”

It also noted a booby-trapped drone was intercepted by the coalition last Tuesday, the first of such attack attempts.

The coalition added that the second attack on the airport “constitutes a war crime,” after it intercepted the first attack.

In response, the coalition launched a military operation to target a launchpad used in the Yemeni capital which it said was used in the attack on the airport. It said that it had “destroyed the terrorist elements responsible for the attack”.

Ongoing conflict

In 2014, the Houthis overran all government institutions in Sanaa and gained control of the city, forcing the internationally-recognised government to flee to Aden.

The conflict was exacerbated in 2015 after a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened to reinstate the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

However, six years on, at least 233,000 Yemenis have been killed, among them 131,000 who died as a result of malnutrition, lack of healthcare and medicine. Both the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition have been criticised by the international community for engaging in war-crimes throughout the conflict.

It is estimated that more than 16 million people will go hungry this year due to the dire conditions that have been imposed on the country due to the ongoing war.

It is also estimated that 400,000 Yemeni children below the age of five could die from acute malnutrition.

“Any ceasefire, any peace plan that includes lifting all restrictions against humanitarian efforts and ensures access for aid workers to reach civilians anywhere in Yemen, will benefit Yemenis,” Afrah Nasser, Yemen Researcher at Human Rights Watch [HRW] told Doha News in March.

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