Saudi-led coalition threatens retaliation against Iran over missiles

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Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki presents evidence of Iran's involvement in supporting Houthi militias and smuggling ballistic missiles to Yemen. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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The debris of a Houthi ballistic missile that Saudi air defense forces shot down on Sunday night over Riyadh is shown during a press conference called by the Saudi-led Coalition Command on Monday. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki presents evidence of Iran's involvement in supporting Houthi militias and smuggling ballistic missiles to Yemen. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki presents evidence of Iran's involvement in supporting Houthi militias and smuggling ballistic missiles to Yemen. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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The remainder of a Houthi ballistic missile that Saudi air defense forces shot down on Sunday night over Riyadh is shown during a press conference called by the Saudi-led Coalition Command on Monday. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 26 March 2018
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Saudi-led coalition threatens retaliation against Iran over missiles

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday that ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia were a serious escalation and threat to regional and international security.
Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki told a news conference in Riyadh that Sunday’s missile attacks on the Saudi capital were a clear violation of international law and accused the Houthis of smuggling weapons from Iran.
The coalition threatened retaliation against Tehran, accusing it of being behind the multiple attacks on the Kingdom.
We “reserve the right to respond against Iran at the right time and right place,” coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki told a news conference, calling the development a “dangerous escalation.”
Saudi forces said they intercepted seven missiles on Sunday, including over the capital Riyadh, in a deadly escalation that coincided with the third anniversary of the coalition’s intervention in Yemen.
Displaying wreckage at a news conference in Riyadh of what it said were fragments of those ballistic missiles, the coalition claimed forensic analysis showed they were supplied to Houthi rebels by their ally Iran.
“The missiles launched against Saudi territory were smuggled from Iran,” coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki told reporters.
"Iran has become like an appendix in the body of the international community. Either they correct their evil path or the international community will correct it for them," he said.
Al-Maliki added Houthi rebels have fired 104 ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia and Iran exploits the Al-Hudaydah Port in Yemen to smuggle ballistic weapons to the Houthis.
He also stated that Houthis are using Sanaa airport as a platform to train their militias and as a base to launch their Iranian-made "Sayyad" ballistic missiles.
Presenting the remnants of alleged Iranian-made missiles, Al-Maliki described the possession of ballistic missiles by Houthi militants as a "serious developmnet".
"Yemen has suffered from Iranian intervention and support for Houthi militants to force a coup," he added.
The missile strikes resulted in the first reported fatality from Houthi fire in the Saudi capital.
Egyptian national Abdul-Moteleb Ahmed, 38, died instantly in his bed when what appeared to be burning shrapnel struck his ramshackle room in Riyadh’s Um Al-Hammam district, leaving a gaping hole in the roof, witnesses said.
Three other Egyptian laborers in the same room were wounded and hospitalized, they said.
The Iran-aligned Houthis said on their Al-Masirah television that Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport was among the targets.
Al-Maliki alleged the rebels in Sanaa were using the airport there to launch missiles on Saudi territory, adding the coalition had seized a number of smuggled weapons.
Iran has repeatedly denied arming the Houthis in Yemen, despite claims by the United States and Saudi Arabia that the evidence of an arms connection is irrefutable.


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.