The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen accused Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah on Sunday (December 26th) of helping Houthi rebels attack its territory, the day after deadly strikes. In recent days, the coalition has targeted Houthi rebel positions close to Iran in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, which they have controlled since the conflict began in 2014.
The coalition, which has supported the Yemeni government in its war against the rebels since 2015, accused them of having « militarized»Sana’a airport, closed to humanitarian flights since Tuesday after Saudi raids. « Hezbollah trains Houthis to trap and use drones at airport« Said General Turki al-Maliki, spokesperson for the coalition.
«Houthis use Sana’a airport as main ballistic missile and drone launch pointTo Saudi Arabia, he added during a press conference in Riyadh. He released footage of what he said is « the headquarters of Iranian experts and Hezbollah at the airportFrom Sanaa, as well as men presented as members of the Lebanese Shiite movement considered terrorist by the Saudis. Turki al-Maliki called for the « responsibility of the international community » to do « cease these hostile actsAgainst the kingdom.
The conflict has intensified in Yemen in recent days, with Saudi Arabia launching a military operation on Saturday « in large scaleIn the country after two people were killed and seven injured in its own territory, in an attack claimed by the Houthis. While Yemeni rebels regularly attack neighboring Saudi Arabia, targeting airports and oil infrastructure, this was the first fatal attack on the kingdom since 2018. In retaliation, three people were killed and six others were injured, according to the report. Yemeni doctors in coalition airstrikes northwest of Sana’a.
The coalition claimed Sunday morning to have destroyed weapons warehouses in Sana’a, according to the official Saudi agency SPA. In the evening, she announced that she had launched new strikes on an air base in Sana’a to prevent the rebels from « transfer weapons« . Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of providing arms to the Houthis and Hezbollah of training insurgents. If Tehran recognizes its political support for the rebels, it denies providing them with weapons.
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed al-Jaber on Saturday compared the Houthis to Hezbollah, saying they are using Iranian weapons to attack his country. On Thursday, the US Navy announced that it had seized 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition from a fishing boat that it said left Iran for the Yemeni rebels.
« Climbing versus escalation »
Since the conflict began seven years ago, the Houthis have gradually taken control of a large part of northern Yemen despite the intervention of the military coalition. In Sana’a, the Houthis promised to « respond to climbing with climbing». «We will not hesitate to carry out targeted operations in the coming period», Declared their military spokesman Yahya Saree, during a speech broadcast by the pro-rebel Yemeni channel Al-Massirah.
The recent Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have been condemned by several countries, including the United States and France. These attacks « perpetuate the conflict, prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people and endanger the Saudis, as well as the 70,000 American nationals who reside in Arabia« , Said the Embassy of the United States in Riyadh in a statement on Saturday.
In a tweet, the French Ambassador, Ludovic Pouille, for his part offered his condolences to the Saudi families affected by the rebel attacks, which he described as « barbarians« . According to the United Nations, the war in Yemen has caused the death of 377,000 people, more than half of them from the indirect consequences of the conflict, including lack of clean water, hunger and disease.
On Wednesday, the UN World Food Program said “constrained»Cut aid to Yemen for lack of sufficient funds, despite rising hunger and the risk of famine in what is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.