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Iran ‘arming Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia, UAE’

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki gives press briefing in Riyadh on Sunday, Nov 5, 2017. (SPA)
RIYADH: Iran is supplying Houthi militia with arms to attack Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said on Sunday.

Al-Maliki also said the coalition would pay a financial reward for information about 40 Houthis wanted for terrorist crimes.

Coalition forces have enough evidence to prove the full complicity of the Tehran regime in the Yemen conflict, Al-Maliki said.

At a presentation in Riyadh, he displayed missiles, weapons and military equipment supplied by Iran and seized by coalition forces. He said ballistic missiles used by the Houthis were not from the Yemeni Army arsenal, and came from Iran.

Iran also supplied the Houthis with drones, he said. Dismantled missiles and other arms were smuggled through Al-Hodeidah port in Yemen and assembled inside the country. The Houthis also threatened maritime navigation by using booby-trapped boats, he said.

Al-Maliki said the coalition had stepped up operations after Saturday night’s ballistic missile attack on Riyadh, but would not confirm air strikes on military targets in the capital, Sanaa, and elsewhere in Yemen after they attack.

Saudi defense forces intercepted and shot down the Houthi missile over King Khaled International Airport. Some debris landed in an uninhabited area but there were no casualties and the airport continued operating as normal.

Al-Maliki said the Houthis had launched the missile indiscriminately to target civilians in populated areas, which was a provocative act. Coalition forces would do whatever was possible to deter the threat from militants in Yemen, he said.

The Houthis have launched 78 missiles at Saudi Arabia, including one in July aimed at Makkah, since the coalition began fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen in March 2015.

The Houthis were the first outlawed terrorist group to have ballistic capabilities, which was a challenge to deal with, Al-Maliki said. “Terrorists and militant groups cannot possess such powers, especially ballistic and surface-to-surface missiles.”

In addition, he said, the Houthis had planted about 50,000 land mines along the Saudi border, which were found and neutralized by coalition experts.

He also called on the international community, especially the UN, to assess violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2216. The resolution, approved in April 2015, calls for an end to violence and demands that the Houthis withdraw from all areas seized during the conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, and cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate government of Yemen.
 
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