Yemen rebel attack wounds 26 at Saudi airport

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Riyadh, Jun 12 :  A Yemeni rebel missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded 26 civilians on Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 that has exacted a heavy civilian death toll, have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks.

Eight of those wounded at Abha airport were admitted to hospital, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said.

The other 18 were discharged after receiving first aid, he added in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Huthi rebels said earlier that they had launched a missile at the airport in the Saudi mountain resort city.

Flights were disrupted for several hours before returning to normal.

Abha, capital of Asir province, lies high in the lush Asir mountains and is a popular getaway for Saudis seeking escape from the searing summer heat of Riyadh or Jeddah.

Malki said an unidentified “projectile” hit the airport which is used by thousands of passengers a day.

He said at least one Indian was among three women wounded along with two Saudi children.

Malki described the incident as a “terrorist attack” on a civilian target which could be considered a “war crime.” He said the coalition would “take stern action” to deter the rebels and protect civilians.

On Monday, Saudi air defences intercepted two rebel drones headed for Khamis Mushait.

The city, not far east of Abha, houses a major airbase that has been one of the main launchpads for the coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

Last month, the Saudi air force shot down a rebel drone that targeted Jizan airport on the Red Sea coast close to the Yemeni border, the coalition said.

The rebel attacks come as SPA reported the coalition was intensifying air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah.

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