TIMELINE: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

Houthis attacked Abha airport on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019

TIMELINE: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen have attacked Saudi Arabia's territory, killing and injuring civilians in the process, often to international condemnation. On Wednesday, the militia launched a missile at Abha airport, injuring at least 26 people.

Here is a look at other incidents of terror perpetrated by the Houthis against the Kingdom.

May 5, 2015: Saudi Arabia suspended schools in the southern town of Najran after Iran-backed Houthi militias fired at the city from Yemen, Al Arabiya news channel reported. 

At least two civilians were killed in the attack, while five Saudi soldiers were captured by the Houthi militants, the Associated Press reported, quoting tribal leaders who chose to be unnamed.

June 7, 2015: Saudi troops shot down a Scud missile fired into the Kingdom from Yemen before dawn, the coalition command said.

Oct. 28, 2016: Saudi ground defenses intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah.

The Arab coalition said in a statement that the missile was downed 65 kilometers from Makkah, adding that coalition jet fighters attacked the rocket launchers in Saada and destroyed them.

July 28, 2017: Saudi air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched toward Makkah by Yemen’s Houthi militia, according to the Arab coalition command.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the coalition command said the missile was shot down over Al-Wasliya area in Taif province, some 69 kilometers away from Makkah. No damage or injuries were reported.

The missile attack was “clearly a desperate attempt to disrupt the Hajj season,” the statement said.

Nov. 4, 2017: The Houthis launched a missile at Riyadh, targeting King Khalid International Airport. Saudi air defense forces intercepted the missile and shot it down, and there was no damage.

Dec. 20, 2017: Houthi militias in Yemen fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh, targeting Al-Yamamah Royal Palace in the Saudi capital.

“The missile was intercepted by Saudi patriot defense systems south of Riyadh, causing the debris to scatter,” the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate Yemeni government said. 

MalikiCoalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al- said that no one was injured and no properties were damaged.

May 15, 2018: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces (RSADF) intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militia over the southern city of Jazan, the Arab coalition spokesman said.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki announced that at 12:40 p.m., Saudi air defense intercepted a ballistic missile launched within Yemeni territories toward the Kingdom’s territories. 

The missile was directed toward populated areas in Jazan province. 

June 10, 2018: Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile over the southern city of Jazan after being fired from rebel-held territory in Yemen, the Arab coalition said.

Debris from the missile landed in residential areas of Jazan without causing casualties, the coalition said in a statement released by SPA.

The attack came a day after three civilians were killed in Jazan when Houthi militia fired a “projectile” at the province.

June 24, 2018: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles over Riyadh, launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Homes in the Saudi capital shook and there were at least six loud blasts, bright flashes in the sky and puffs of smoke above the city. There were no reports of casualties.

April 2, 2019: Two Houthi drones targeting civilian areas in Khamis Mushayt, a mountain city in Asir region, were intercepted and destroyed. 

Five people were reported injured by falling debris. Four vehicles and a number of houses were damaged.

April 8, 2019: Arab coalition air defense forces intercepted a Houthi drone aimed at Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Asir, SPA said.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki, Arab coalition spokesperson, said that at 10:50 p.m. local time, Saudi air defenses spotted the drone heading towards a populated area in the Asir region. 

The drone was shot down before reaching its target and nobody had been reported injured by falling debris from the unmanned aerial vehicle, he said.

Al-Maliki said that the militia continued to target civilians with drone attacks as well as booby-trapped boats in violation of the Stockholm Agreement signed by the militia and the Yemeni government and its coalition backers.

He said that “these acts of terrorism” aimed to provoke the coalition forces into carrying out military action in the province of Hodeidah.

May 13, 2019: Two Saudi tankers were targeted off the coast of the UAE. The Kingdom’s energy minister said the two vessels were targeted off Fujairah. He said that one tanker was en route to the Kingdom to be loaded with Saudi crude oil for the US.

May 14, 2019: Between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., two pump stations on the East-West pipeline were attacked by armed drones, which caused a fire and minor damage to Pump Station No. 8. The fire has since been contained. 

“The pipeline transports Saudi oil from the Eastern Province to Yanbu port,” a statement from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. 

The early-morning attack, the second that week in the Gulf, targeted two pumping stations operated by Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco later confirmed the attack in a statement, stating that it had “responded to a fire at East-West Pipeline Pump Station 8 which was caused by a sabotage incident using armed drones which targeted pump stations 8 and 9.”

May 20, 2019: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down two ballistic missiles that Al-Arabiya reported were heading toward Jeddah and Makkah.

The forces “monitored air targets flying over restricted areas in Jeddah and Taif province, and were dealt with accordingly,” Arab coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

June 11, 2019: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down two weaponized drones launched by the Houthis from Yemen toward the city of Khamis Mushayt, Al-Maliki said.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 50 min 31 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.