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According to new reports, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of an act of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

This “may be considered an act of war”, Saudi Arabia state media quoted the crown prince as telling UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a phone conversation.

On November 4, a ballistic missile was intercepted near Riyadh.

Iran has denied arming the Houthi movement, which is fighting a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government.

On November 6, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Saudi Arabia’s “wars of aggression” and “regional bullying” were threatening the Middle East.

Image source Wikimedia

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Houthi-aligned media reported that the rebels had fired a Burkan H2 ballistic missile at King Khaled International Airport, which is about 530 miles from the Yemeni border and 7 miles north-east of Riyadh, on November 4.


Saudi media reported that missile defenses intercepted the missile in flight, but that some missile fragments fell inside the airport area. No casualties were reported.

Human Rights Watch said the launch of an indiscriminate missile at a predominantly civilian airport was an apparent war crime.

On November 7, the official Saudi Press Agency (SAP) reported that in his telephone call with Prince Mohammed, Boris Johnson had “expressed his condemnation of launching a ballistic missile by Houthi coup militias” and affirmed “Britain’s stand with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in confronting security threats”.

“For his part, the crown prince stressed that the involvement of the Iranian regime in supplying its Houthi militias with missiles is considered a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war against the kingdom,” it added.

On November 6, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN that Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, an Iranian proxy, was also involved.

“It was an Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, after a loud explosion was heard near Riyadh airport on November 4.

According to officials, quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency, the missile was destroyed over the capital and fragments landed in the airport area.

A TV channel linked to Houthi rebels in Yemen said the missile was fired at the King Khalid International Airport.

The Saudi civil aviation authority said that air traffic was not disrupted.

Saudi forces have reported shooting down Houthi missiles in the past, though none has come so close to a major population centre.

Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, said: “The missile was launched indiscriminately to target the civilian and populated areas.

“Shattered fragments from the intercepted missile landed in an uninhabited area of the airport and there were no injuries.”

Witnesses reported seeing parts of the missile in the airport’s car park, Al-Arabiya reported.

Residents in the north of Riyadh said their windows were rattled by a loud blast that was followed by the roar of low-flying aircraft.

Image source Wikimedia

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Oil prices surge after Saudi Arabia and allies launch air strikes on Houthi fighters in Yemen

The Houthi-run Saba News in Yemen said the missile had been a Burkan H2.

The rebel group is believed to have access to a stockpile of Scud ballistic missiles and home-grown variants. Saudi forces have previously brought them down with Patriot surface-to-air missiles bought from the US.

In May, a day before President Donald Trump was due to arrive in Riyadh for a visit, the Houthis fired a missile towards the city, but it was shot down 120 miles from the capital.

Yemen has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

Saudi Arabia is leading a campaign to defeat the Houthis, and is the biggest power in an international air coalition that has bombed the rebel group since 2015.

On November 1, a suspected strike by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 26 people at a hotel and market in northern Yemen, medics and local officials said.

The coalition, which rights groups say has bombed schools, hospitals, markets and residential areas, said it struck a “legitimate military target”.

Oil prices rose by almost 6% after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched air strikes on Houthi rebel targets in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest crude exporter.

The move has raised concerns that the conflict could spread in the oil-rich Middle East and possibly disrupt supplies from the region.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the US benchmark, rallied to about $51 a barrel before falling back.

Brent crude climbed to $59.71 a barrel, but has since dipped to $56.50.

Pressure on the oil price eased slightly as it became clear there was no immediate threat to Middle East oil shipments. However, fears remain that Iran could be drawn into the conflict.Oil prices surge after Saudi Arabia and allies launch air strikes on Houthi fighters in Yemen

Yemen is located along an important international shipping route for global energy producers. But the country is sliding towards civil war.

Houthi rebels receiving support from Iran have marched on the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, where Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi took refuge after he was forced him to flee the capital, Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia, supported by regional allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, launched airstrikes on Thursday aimed at halting the rebel advance.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the group that produces about 40% of the world’s oil. Oil exports to Europe pass through the narrow Red Sea strait between the port of Aden and Djibouti.

However, the current glut in global oil stocks, built up in part thanks to US shale production and plentiful output from Russia and other producers, means there is unlikely to be an acute crisis in supply.

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