August 5, 2019 / 5:41 AM / 18 days ago

Yemeni Houthis say launched drone attacks on Saudi airports, air base

DUBAI (Reuters) - Houthi forces in Yemen launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid air base as well as the Abha and Najran civilian airports, the Houthis’ military spokesman said on Monday.

Houthi forces spokesman Yahya Saria said the attack on Abha airport “hit its targets”, and air traffic was disrupted at both Abha and Najran. All three locations are in southwest Saudi Arabia, near the border with Yemen.

But an official at Saudi’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) told Reuters that traffic is running as usual at both Abha and Najran airports and there was no disturbance.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen had earlier said that Houthi drones had been intercepted and downed heading in the direction of civilian airports.

The Houthis, who control the Yemeni capital Sanaa, have in recent months stepped up attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia. In response, the coalition has struck military sites belonging to the group, especially around Sanaa.

The Houthis on Thursday said they launched missile and drone attacks on a military parade in the southern port city of Aden, the seat of Yemen’s internationally-recognized government and a stronghold of the coalition, killing dozens.

The escalation in violence threatens a United Nations-sponsored deal for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from the flashpoint coastal city of Hodeidah, which became the focus of the war last year when the coalition tried to seize its port, the Houthis’ main supply line and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, Marwa Rashed and Lisa Barrington; editing by Kim Coghill and G Crosse

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