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.


Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 18 October 2019

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.



In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The audience watched the parade from specially built stands. (Supplied)

 

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.