Saudi Arabia thwarts Huthi missile attack on Mecca

The KSA UAE Bahrain and Egypt have imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations that Doha supports terrorism and is cosying up to regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the charges. — Reuters  File

Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi airport and military base with a bomb-laden drone Tuesday, an assault acknowledged by the kingdom as Middle East tensions remained high between Tehran and Washington.

A Saudi coalition spokesman said, "Royal Saudi Defence Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation", according to Saudi's state news agency SPA.

The UAE also urged the global community to act immediately to stop such terrorist attacks targeting the Holy Places in the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Saudi-led coalition's spokesman Turkie al-Maleki said a vital civilian facility in Najran was targeted with a drone carrying explosives.

The attacks on Najran airport came after Saudi forces intercepted "ballistic missiles" above the Saudi western cities of Jeddah and Taif on Monday.

Yemen's Al-Massirah TV channel quoted military source as saying that air defense system in the Yemeni army downed a hostile drone in Hodeidah.


Houthi commanders called the claim a tactic by Saudi Arabia to rally support for its war in Yemen.

The four-year conflict in Yemen has devastated the country, leaving much of the population on the brink of starvation.

Last week, Saudi Arabia temporarily shut down a key oil pipeline after Huthi drone attacks on two pumping stations. That came as already this month, officials in the United Arab Emirates alleged that four oil tankers were sabotaged and USA diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.

"But given all the regional conflicts that we have seen over the past decade and the shape of these attacks, it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind these", he told the Hugh Hewitt show.

Saudi Arabia is to host twin summits in Mecca next week of the Arab League and of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi said it was up to Iran to avoid war.

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