Arab coalition: Raid on Houthi missile launch site in Yemen complies with international law

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The missile exploded in the air, causing debris to fall onto residential areas, killing a Yemeni resident and injuring 11 others. (SPA)
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The missile exploded in the air, causing debris to fall onto residential areas, killing a Yemeni resident and injuring 11 others. (SPA)
Updated 09 August 2018
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Arab coalition: Raid on Houthi missile launch site in Yemen complies with international law

  • One civilian was killed in the initial attack when the Houthi missile was shot down
  • Saudi coalition said it targeted Houthis in a legitimate attempt to protect civilians

JEDDAH: Airstrikes on a site in Yemen used by militants to launch missiles toward Saudi Arabia were “legitimate,” the Arab coalition said Thursday, as it was confirmed that a number of Houthi field commanders had been killed.

The Saudi-led coalition said air raids on Saada in northwestern Yemen, a stronghold of the Iran-backed Houthis, complied with international humanitarian laws.

Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said the military action was targeted at militants who planned an attack with the aim of harming civilians, by attempting to launch a missile toward Jazan in southern Saudi Arabia.

“The targeting on Thursday in the province of Saada is a legitimate military operation to target elements that planned and executed the targeting of civilians last night in the city of Jazan,” he said. 

“(The operation) was carried in accordance to international humanitarian law and customary rules, and the coalition will take all procedures against the criminal and terror acts by the terrorist Houthi militia affiliated with Iran.”

The attempted Houthi missile attack, intercepted by Saudi Royal Air Defense forces, killed one civilian and injured 11 others in Yemen on Wednesday evening, Saudi state news agency SPA and the coalition said.

Al-Maliki said the missile was fired toward Jazan “in a deliberate way to target residential and populated areas,” and explicitly violating international humanitarian law.

Late on Thursday, another ballistic missile fell inside Yemen after the Houthis attempted to launch it towards Najran.

The Houthis have launched a series of missile strikes on Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, over the past year.

The spokesman said the Western-backed Arab coalition would continue to take all measures to maintain regional and international security.

A coalition source quoted by the Al Arabiya News Channel said that a number of Houthi field commanders were killed in a raid on Thursday morning. 

They included prominent recruiters of young people in Yemen to fight on behalf of the Houthis. The Iran-backed militia have a history of recruiting child soldiers.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies entered the war in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis, who drove the internationally recognized government into exile in 2014.


Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir was speaking after UK suspended issuing new licenses for weapons sales to the Kingdom in response to a court ruling
  • UK government disagrees with the judgement and will seek permission to appeal

LONDON: Halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia will only benefit Iran, Adel Al-Jubeir said Wednesday, after the British government announced it would suspend issuing new licenses for the sale of arms to the Kingdom.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a court ordered the government to “reconsider” the sales because of their humanitarian impact in Yemen.

Fox said he disagreed with the judgement and would seek permission to appeal.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the deployment of weapons in Yemen was legitimate.

“The decision by the court in the UK has to do with procedures for licensing, not any wrongdoing that took place,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in London.

“The coalition is an ally of the West and the coalition is fighting a legitimate war at the behest of a legitimate government to stop Iran and its proxies from taking over a strategically important country - so the only beneficiary of a cut-off of weapons to the coalition is going to be Iran.”

The court ruling does not halt Britain's arms exports but means the granting of new licences will be paused.

Leading British defence firm BAE Systems said it would continue to support the UK government “in providing equipment, support and training under government to government agreements between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is part of the Arab coalition fighting to support the internationally recognized government in Yemen which was driven from the capital Sanaa in 2014 by Iran-backed militants.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 percent of Britain's global arms sales in the past decade, Reuters reported.

The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Meanwhilw, a State Department official said the US must stand with Saudi Arabia as a key security partner, when asked about the Thursday's court ruling in the UK.
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper said both the US and Britain had long-standing bilateral ties to Saudi Arabia.
"They are carrying a significant amount of equity to protect US interests and US persons, and it is incumbent upon us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners, especially when they are on the front line for our interests," he said.

*With Reuters