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.

Saudis, expats ready to restart their lives, vow to stick to health guidelines

Updated 34 min 40 sec ago

Saudis, expats ready to restart their lives, vow to stick to health guidelines

  • The restrictions will be lifted in three phases
  • People said they were excited to see their lives getting back to normal

RIYADH: Saudis and expats on Tuesday cautiously welcomed the government’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions, saying the risk was not over and people should strictly abide by the Health Ministry’s guidelines to keep the coronavirus at bay.

The restrictions will be lifted in three phases, during which the authorities will monitor and assess the situation and introduce changes if needed.

People said they were excited to see their lives getting back to normal after weeks of restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.

Abdulelah Hamed, a 28-year-old Saudi pharmacist, welcomed the new decisions, saying that strict measures were in favor of the public’s safety.

“Though it was a chaotic period, our government chose to help and educate us so that we emerge from this crisis unscarred and prepared citizens.”

Saudi journalist Nouf Al-Oufi, 30, said that the decisions depend on the awareness of society.

“The Kingdom has taken necessary actions since the beginning of the spread of the virus and was one of the leading countries in taking early measures to protect the health of its citizens.”

She said: “The past three months have served as lessons for citizens on how to take care of their health, the health of their families.”

Shahana Parveen, a teacher at the New Middle East International School in Riyadh, said: “We are very happy that the lockdown will end soon and things will get back to normal.”

She said, however, that risk remained. “It is of utmost importance to comply with the ministry’s health and hygiene guidelines. We should continue maintaining social distance, avoid gatherings, wear masks and sanitize hands and utensils.”

Murshid Kamal, convener at the India Islamic Cultural Center, Middle East region, told Arab News: “It’s a welcome move by the government. Saudi Arabia has done pretty well compared to other countries in the world. I urge community members to take care while going out in terms of hygiene and maintain the highest degree of social distancing norms to combat COVID-19.”

Mohammed Aslam Jameel, a travel supervisor at Global Travel Solutions in Riyadh, said: “It is highly appreciated that the government is taking measures in an excellent way to ease the curfew in phases and allowing reopening of workplaces, mosques and other essential businesses.”

“It is commendable that they have analyzed the situation and taken appropriate steps to boost public morale,” he said.

Since domestic air operations will resume on June 1 as announced, Jameel hoped international flights would also begin soon. 

M. Arshad Ali Khan, a schoolteacher in Riyadh, said: “The whole world is facing a challenging time due to COVID-19. This is a health emergency and an unprecedented situation. People are confined at home, their work and offices are closed. They were experiencing mental stress and anxiety, especially expatriates in the Kingdom.”

“At this juncture I would like to thank and appreciate the role of the Saudi government and also welcome the decision returning to normal life with the blessing of Almighty. I urge people to follow the Healthy Ministry’s guidelines and avoid nonessential travel, gathering, follow all government instructions, and minimize outdoor activity,” he said.

He also emphasized basic health precautions, especially frequent hand washing with soap and water, the practice of good coughing/sneezing etiquette, and the heeding of all security advice.

Zafar Hasan said: “As the coronavirus is still spreading with cases reported daily, I don’t think it is necessary to work from the office; we could work virtually like before to continue working from home.”

He added that attending the office only on a need-to basis was required, and while going out precautionary measures must be taken such as ensuring proper hygiene, disinfection and social distancing.