Saudi Arabia vows to confront Houthi terrorist threat with ‘unwavering resolve’

A Saudi Royal Air Force jet takes off at an airbase in the south of the Kingdom in this March 25, 2019 photo. (SPA file)
Updated 13 June 2019

Saudi Arabia vows to confront Houthi terrorist threat with ‘unwavering resolve’

  • Pledge comes after missile strike on civilian Abha Airport in which 26 people were injured
  • Deputy Defense Minister: ‘Appropriate measures will be taken to confront and deter these terrorist militias’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday vowed to take “appropriate” action to confront and deter attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen.

It came a day after 26 people, including women and children, were injured in a missile strike on the civilian Abha Airport in the south of the Kingdom, for which the Houthis claimed responsibility.

“We will confront the Houthi militias’ crimes with unwavering resolve,” said Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman. “Their targeting of a civilian airport exposes to the world the recklessness of Iran’s escalation and the danger it poses to regional security and stability.

“The targeting of Abha Airport by Iranian-backed Houthi militias, injuring innocent civilians of various nationalities, is a continuation of their immoral and criminal behavior that is in line with the malign behavior of their patrons. I pray for a quick recovery for the wounded.”

The Houthi militias fired 226 ballistic missiles toward Saudi Arabia between March 26, 2015 and June 10, 2019.

“Appropriate measures will be taken to confront and deter these terrorist militias,” said Prince Khalid. “We will stand against all those that aim to inflict harm on our security and interests, and we will continue to adhere to all international laws and norms to protect regional security and stability.

“For 40 years, the Iranian regime has been spreading chaos, death and destruction by sponsoring and financing terrorist organizations, including the Houthis. The Iranian regime is the only party in the region that has been pursuing reckless escalation, through the use of ballistic missiles and UAVS (unmanned aerial vehicles) to directly target civilian installations and innocent civilians.

“The continuation of the Iranian regime’s aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences. The international community must carry out its responsibility to avoid this outcome,” the minister added.

Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authorities said operations and air traffic at Abha Airport had returned to normal by Thursday morning. Thousands of passengers pass through the airport each day.

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The missile strike was condemned by nations and officials around the world, with the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia denouncing it in the strongest terms as an attack that “targeted innocent civilians.”

The UAE said it was proof of attempts by the Houthis to “undermine regional security.” Bahrain said it “strongly condemned” the attack, describing it as a “terrorist and cowardly criminal act against innocent civilians.”

The day before the attack, a spokesman for the Houthi military warned that the group planned to target every airport in Saudi Arabia, and that the coming days would reveal “big surprises.”

A Houthi claim that it struck the airport with a sophisticated cruise missile was dismissed as “misinformation spread by Houthi media and Iranian social media,” by security analyst Dr. Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser at Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC.

“The interception rate by Saudi PAC-3 air defense is extremely high,” he added. “But Iranian-supplied and supported Houthi drones are another matter; they deliver an explosive charge either on the target or above, raining down debris.”

The Houthis last month stepped up attacks following a lull last year ahead of UN-led peace efforts. The coalition has responded by carrying out air strikes on Houthi-held Sanaa.


Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 August 2019

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

  • The website of a cryptocurrency company is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal
  • The Singapore-based company uses the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree

JEDDAH: Fraudsters are trying to lure victims into investing in a “virtual currency” with false claims that it is linked to the Saudi riyal and will be used to finance key projects, the Saudi Ministry of Finance warned on Tuesday.

The website of a cryptocurrency company in Singapore is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal, using the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree. Its “ultimate goal” is to finance NEOM, the smart city and tourist destination being built in the north of the Kingdom, the company claims.

“Any use of the KSA name, national currency or national emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal action by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

The fraudsters were exploiting ignorance of how virtual currencies work, cryptocurrency expert Dr. Assad Rizq told Arab News.

“A lot of tricks can be played,” he said. “Some of these companies are not regulated, they have no assets, and even their prospectus is sometimes copied from other projects.

“They hype and pump their project so the price goes up. Inexpert investors, afraid of missing out, jump in, which spikes the price even higher. Then the owners sell up and make tons of money.

“Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment for two reasons. First, the sector is not yet fully regulated and a lot of projects use fake names and identities, such as countries’ names or flags, to manipulate investors.

“Second, you have to do your homework, learn about the technology. And if you still want to invest, consider your country’s rules and regulations.”