Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement has claimed responsibility for a cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport, the group’s Al-Masirah TV channel reported early Wednesday morning.
The attack injured 26 civilians, according to representatives for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, and came just a day after Saudi authorities said they intercepted two drones launched by the group. Abha airport is in southwestern Saudi Arabia, roughly 100 miles from the Yemeni border.
The airport is used by thousands of people daily, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, which reported that eight people were admitted for hospital treatment while 18 were discharged after receiving initial first aid. Flights were halted for several hours but have now resumed, authorities said.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, have launched numerous drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and claim to have carried out drone attacks against the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
On May 14, the group claimed drone attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations, an act Riyadh labeled as terrorism. No one was hurt in the attack, which Saudi authorities accused Iran of ordering. Tehran denied any involvement, though weapons analysts have found that the drones and projectiles fired from Yemen are largely Iranian-made.
“The targeting of Abha airport proves that the Houthis have obtained advanced weapons from Iran,” a coalition statement said Wednesday. Iran has not yet responded.
The Houthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia in their country since the kingdom launched an offensive against it in early 2015 in defense of Yemen’s internationally-recognized government, which the rebels had overthrown. The Houthis currently control a significant portion of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
The attack also comes as the Arab Coalition is ramping up airstrikes on rebel-held positions in Yemen’s northern Hajja province.
Since March 2015, Yemenis have been under a steady aerial bombing campaign that has killed tens of thousands of civilians, according to international aid organizations. The more than four-year long conflict has been deemed by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.