Yemeni Missile Attack on Saudi Airport Wounds 26 in Escalation




 

(Bloomberg) -- A missile fired by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels hit a Saudi airport on Wednesday, wounding 26 people and ratcheting up regional tensions just as international efforts to avert escalation get underway.

The projectile hit the arrival section at Abha International airport in the southwest of the country, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Yemen's Houthis said earlier in the day that they had used a cruise missile to target the airport, a claim that couldn't be independently verified.

The rebels have launched dozens of missile attacks on Saudi targets over the past four years. But the unusually-high casualty toll is the latest signal that the group's attacks on the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

A drone strike hit a Saudi Aramco facility hundreds of kilometers away from the Yemeni border last month, prompting the oil company to temporarily shut one of its key pipelines.

Saudi officials said that attack was ordered by Iran, but didn't provide evidence to back their claims. The U.S. has also blamed Iran for sabotaging tankers near the Persian Gulf using naval mines, a claim Tehran denies.

"The Houthi capabilities are getting better," said Elisabeth Kendall, a senior research fellow at Oxford University. "This is one sign of how the war has backfired on Saudi Arabia. It was intended to reduce Iranian influence but instead it has increased it."

The prospects of a showdown between the U.S., its Arab allies on one hand, and Iran on the other, have spiked since the Trump administration stopped granting waivers to buyers of Iranian oil early in May. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. last year from a landmark 2015 agreement meant to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon.

Bahrain, a member of the Saudi-led alliance fighting in Yemen, described Wednesday's incident as a "dangerous escalation carried out by Iranian weapons," Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark Tadawul All Share Index trimmed gains after the kingdom's authorities acknowledged the attack. It was trading 0.4 percent higher at 1:18 p.m. local time. The civil aviation authority said the airport was operating normally, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported around midday.

The incident comes as efforts to defuse the tension between the U.S. and Iran kick into high gear. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left for Tehran on Wednesday for talks with top officials in a trip sanctioned by Trump.

(Updates from paragraph 3 with context, Bahrain comment, analyst.)

--With assistance from Abbas Al Lawati.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dana Khraiche in Riyadh at dkhraiche@bloomberg.net;Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Alaa Shahine

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Turkey calls on Kurdish fighters to lay arms, vacate border
Turkey calls on Kurdish fighters to lay arms, vacate border
  • World
  • 2019-10-16 15:09:11Z

Russia said it was working to prevent a conflict between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces that have moved in to Kurdish-held areas in the northeast. The Kurdish administration invited the Syrian military in to shield it from the Turkish attack. A day ahead of a visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to Ankara, tasked with negotiating out an end to the attack, the Kremlin said Erdogan had accepted an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Russia "in coming days" to discuss Syria.

Impeachment inquiry: Vice President Mike Pence refuses to turn over requested documents
Impeachment inquiry: Vice President Mike Pence refuses to turn over requested documents

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday refused to turn over documents requested by House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry.

Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks
Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/GettyAt a critical juncture in his presidency, facing a rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Donald Trump is feeling besieged by snitches.In recent weeks, numerous leaks have appeared in the pages of The Washington Post, The New York

Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi
Democrats, Republicans to seek reversal of Trump Syria pullback: Pelosi

The top congressional Democrat said Monday she had agreed with Republicans on the need for a resolution to overturn Donald Trump's "dangerous" troop withdrawal from northern Syria, as the US president threatened tough sanctions against Ankara. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said congressional

Fictitious Video of President Shooting Critics and Media Shown at His Resort
Fictitious Video of President Shooting Critics and Media Shown at His Resort

WASHINGTON -- A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Donald Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week, according to footage obtained by The New York Times.Several

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.