Survivors of Houthi missile attack describe moment explosion ripped through Abha airport

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The Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which is locked in a war with the Arab coalition in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack on Abha Airport. (Screenshot/Twitter)
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Saudi security officers are seen at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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A Saudi security officer walks past the Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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Workers fix the damages of Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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A picture taken during a guided tour with the Saudi military on June 13, 2019 shows a worker fixing inspecting the damage at Abha airport in the popular mountain resort of the same name in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, one day after a Yemeni rebel missile attack on the civil airport, wounding 26 civilians. (AFP)
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A picture taken during a guided tour with the Saudi military on June 13, 2019 shows a worker fixing inspecting the damage at Abha airport in the popular mountain resort of the same name in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, one day after a Houthi missile attack on the civil airport, wounding 26 civilians. (AFP)
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A picture taken during a guided tour with the Saudi military on June 13, 2019 shows workers fixing the damage at Abha airport in the popular mountain resort of the same name in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, one day after a Yemeni rebel missile attack on the civil airport, wounding 26 civilians. (AFP)
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Cars are parked in front of Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia's mountainous resort, on June 12, 2019. (AFP)
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A Saudi Gulf airplane is seen at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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A picture taken during a guided tour with the Saudi military on June 13, 2019 shows damage on the roof of Abha airport in the popular mountain resort of the same name in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, one day after a Houthi missile attack on the civil airport, wounding 26 civilians. (AFP)
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A sign on the side of a road leads the way to Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia's mountainous resort, on June 12, 2019. (AFP)
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Workers fix the damages of Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 15 June 2019

Survivors of Houthi missile attack describe moment explosion ripped through Abha airport

  • The Houthis have for years targeted Saudi cities and infrastructure with drones and missiles
  • The strike on a civilian target inside Saudi Arabia came at a time of elevated tensions in the region between Iran and Gulf Arab allies of the United States

ABHA: As Nadia Assiri waited inside a regional Saudi Arabian airport for her sister to arrive from the capital Riyadh, an explosion threw her to the floor and ignited a fire.
Nearby, shrapnel tore through the arm and leg of another woman, Indian-national Um Karim, when a missile hit the arrivals hall of Abha airport where she had been sitting in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a night flight.
"While we were sitting we heard a noise and then saw fire and the blast threw me far," said Assiri, a 33-year-old Saudi.
Um Karim's son-in-law said that the explosion shook the car as the family came to pick her up. "I was scared there would be a second blast," he told Reuters.
The Houthis said a cruise missile strike destroyed the control tower.
The Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which is locked in a war with the Arab coalition in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack. The coalition said 26 people were hurt, including Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationals.
The Coalition responded on Thursday with air strikes around the Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa that it said targeted the group's military assets.
The Saudi airport that was struck, Abha, is about 200 km (125 miles) north of the border with Yemen. When media visited the airport on Thursday, it smelled of fresh paint. The flat bitumen roof of the arrivals hall had been patched up, but scorch marks could be seen.


The Houthis, who control Yemen's capital and the territory where most of the population lives, have for years targeted Saudi cities and infrastructure with drones and missiles, most of which have been intercepted by Saudi defence systems.
The strike on a civilian target inside Saudi Arabia came at a time of elevated tensions in the region between Iran and Gulf Arab allies of the United States.
"The fact that civilians have been injured (in Abha) puts additional pressure on the Saudis to respond to this attack. This just adds more fuel to the fire," said Jean-Marc Rickli, a defence expert at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
On Wednesday, the coalition said evidence indicated that Iran's Revolutionary Guards had supplied the Houthis with the weapon used in the Abha attack. The spokesman for the Arab coalition said on Thursday the fact the missiles were not intercepted did not mean there was a failure in Saudi defences.
Last month the Houthis claimed responsibility for an armed drone strike on two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia, the first time they had struck the kingdom's oil infrastructure.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore a government ousted from power in Sanaa by the Houthis.


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.