Human Rights Watch declares Houthi Abha airport attack a ‘war crime’ as another missile targets city

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A picture taken during a guided tour with the Saudi military on June 13, 2019 shows the 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 Yemeni rebel missile attack on the civil airport wounded 26 civilians. (AFP)
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Damage of Saudi Arabia's Abha airport is seen after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group in Abha, Saudi Arabia June 12, 2019. (SPA)
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This photograph shows damage inside Abha Regional Airport after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels in Abha, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (SPA)
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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, one day after a Houthi missile attack on the civil airport. (AFP)
Updated 16 June 2019

Human Rights Watch declares Houthi Abha airport attack a ‘war crime’ as another missile targets city

  • Human Rights Watch urged the Houthis to stop attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia
  • The Houthi attack on the southwestern Saudi town of Abha's regional airport wounded 26 people Wednesday

CAIRO: A leading rights group has called an attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis on Abha airport in Saudi Arabia an "apparent war crime" as the city was targeted again Saturday by the militia's missiles.

An Al Arabiya reported said Saudi forces intercepted a ballistic missile above the southwestern Saudi city. On Friday, Saudi forces intercepted five drones from Yemen, the Arab military coalition fighting to support the government said.

The drones targeted Abha airport, where a Houthi missile on Wednesday injured 26 civilians, and the nearby city of Khamis Mushait.

Human Rights Watch on Saturday urged the Houthis to stop attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. "Commanders who order deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilian objects are responsible for war crimes," the group said.

The coalition targeted Houthi military sites in Sanaa on Saturday, including the militia’s air defense systems, Al Arabiya reported.

The spokesperson of the coalition, Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the operation aimed to destroy the Houthi militia’s threat to regional and international security.

*With AP


Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs $43bn deal for tourism projects

Updated 28 September 2020

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs $43bn deal for tourism projects

  • Fund to launch investment vehicles to develop tourism with private and investment banks
  • Saudi Arabia wants tourism sector to contribute 10% of GDP by 2030

RIYADH: Up to SR160 billion ($42.66 billion) of tourism projects will be financed in Saudi Arabia after a deal between the Kingdom’s Tourism Development Fund and local banks, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The agreement was signed by the fund’s CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri, the CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and the managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez, in the presence of Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb.
The deal is based on establishing financing programs to support and develop the tourism sector with a value of up to SR160 billion and aims to activate the programs agreed on with the two banks. 
“This agreement includes defining ways of cooperation between the fund and the participating banks by setting up mechanisms to support financing tourism projects in various regions of the Kingdom,” according to a statement.
It said the agreement was one of the fund’s efforts to encourage and stimulate investments in the tourism sector and support the private sector, including support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by providing a number of financial products.
The fund was founded in June with an initial $4 billion investment and is part of plans to diversify the economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Al-Fakhri said: “This agreement constitutes an essential step toward supporting and developing tourism projects in the Kingdom.” 
He added that the fund’s role and commitment to supporting and developing the tourism sector continued by stimulating investment and building a solid relationship with banks and financial institutions, which would create distinct investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
The CEO of Riyadh Bank said the bank was proud to form this partnership with the fund, which would enhance the role of banks in supporting the private sector, including SMEs, and enable the development of tourism projects in the Kingdom.
“The tourism sector is one of the most important sectors that support the economy, and we are looking forward to starting an active participation with the fund to support quality projects, which will have an impact on finding promising investment opportunities in the Kingdom,” said Al-Sadhan.
Fayez said that the agreement accompanied the effective role of banks in achieving the objectives of the tourism sector, which was one of the most promising sectors for investment, and would be the beginning of an effective partnership with the fund that would contribute to creating investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
He also said that these agreements played an important role in creating pioneering tourism projects and destinations that, in turn, contributed to achieving the objectives of the National Tourism Strategy.
He added that the strategy aimed to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product from 3 to 10 percent, create a million new jobs and receive 100 million local and international visitors by 2030.