US condemns Houthi attack on Abha airport that injured 9

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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
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Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)
Updated 03 July 2019

US condemns Houthi attack on Abha airport that injured 9

  • Tuesday's Houthi attack on the airport took place shortly after midnight
  • This is the third time the airport has been targeted by the Yemen-based militia

RIYADH: Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia’s Asir province has fully resumed operations following a drone attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia based in Yemen.

Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the attack by the Houthis had injured nine civilians — eight Saudis and one Indian citizen — all of whom are in stable condition in a hospital.

The US "strongly condemned" the strike - the third such attack in less than three weeks.

"These attacks are risking the lives of many and injuring innocent civilians," a State Department spokeswoman said. "We call for an immediate end to these violent actions, which only exacerbate the conflict in Yemen and deepen mistrust.

"We stand firmly with our Saudi partners in defending their borders against these continued threats by the Houthis, who rely on Iranian-made weapons and technology to carry out such attacks."
 

Former Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, who was in Abha at the time, said: “I think this terrorist attack on civilians reflects their failure in this war — that’s why they are targeting civilians.

“It’s time for the international community to take action and for the UN to take necessary measures to punish Iran and stop it from doing such things.

“Such attacks will only reinforce our national unity and our national cohesion. The Houthi’s aim is to disturb our unity so it’s so sad that the target is a civilian target, but that’s the only thing they can do. But our people are safe and they will remain safe and strong to defeat anyone who tries to attack this country.”

Asseri added that the operation of the airport was not affected by the attack, and that flights were still coming in and out of the airport.

“This will not affect the tourism season in Abha and Asir, and people here are very solid; they have great faith in their leadership and their country,” he said.




Flight operations at Abha International Airport resumed following a Houthi attack on Tuesday. (AN photo by Faris Tairan)

Arab Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the fight against Houthis would continue, as they repeatedly violated international law by targeting civilians and civilian structures.

The militants claimed the attack through their own media, the spokesman added.

Hatem Al-Ahmad, a Syrian artist based in Abha, said that everything in the area was under control. “There is a festival underway beside the airport, and as far as I know it is going pretty well and welcoming a fair number of visitors every day.”

Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE and the US have all condemned the tactics of the Houthis in targeting civilians. The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, said: “We strongly condemn these acts of violence against innocent civilians. The Houthis must stop this — our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

Tuesday’s attack is the third targeting the airport in the last four weeks, with the previous two taking place on June 23 and 12.

One person was killed in the second attack, and overall there have been 56 people injured.


A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

Updated 19 October 2019

A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

  • Rihab Hasanain set up Blooming Bs to provide schoolchildren with healthy meals
  • Blooming Bs strives to raise awareness of the obesity problem in the Kingdom

CAIRO: One Saudi woman was so concerned about her children’s unhealthy school-canteen meals that she decided to improve not only her family’s diet but also the eating habits of the entire nation.

Rihab Hasanain, spurred by the Kingdom’s growing obesity epidemic, set up the catering firm Blooming Bs to provide children with healthy lunch boxes and offer them advice on the importance of eating healthy food and being active.

The company’s name originates from the three Bs: Brain, body and box. The healthy boxes are provided to students and children aged two and above at schools, canteens, childcare centers and indoor playground centers.

Saudi Arabia has the Middle East’s second-highest obesity level after Kuwait with a 35.4 percent rating,  according to the CIA World Factbook.

Hasanain said that she wants to raise awareness of the region’s obesity problem, particularly among children.

“Childhood obesity is one of the greatest challenges facing health care systems worldwide,” she said.

“A number of factors have contributed to the problem, such as lack of childhood physical activities, and a low awareness around the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

Hasanain said that Blooming Bs’ mission is to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries by promoting healthy eating habits.

Rihab Hasanain

This includes educating children and parents about the importance of healthy food and lifestyles, providing youngsters with healthy food choices, and creating a community of future healthy eaters.

In Saudi Arabia, a major contributing factor to the obesity crisis is the widespread availability of unhealthy food in school canteens, she said.

In 2016, the ambitious mother of two took matters into her own hands by establishing her commercial kitchen in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

Using her personal savings, Hasanain hired a team of 10 multidisciplinary women, including public relations and administration staff, social-work specialists, early childhood educators and drivers.

She also leveraged her international connections to help secure support and endorsement from a number of prominent mentors.

“They are extraordinary individuals with an outstanding track record in social entrepreneurship, hospitality and, most importantly, health promotion and healthy school canteens,” Hasanain said.

Blooming Bs has since grown to cater to more than 20 day-care units and schools, as well as hundreds of individual families. The firm has now sold more than 45,000 items and served over 10,000 lunch meals since its launch.

Hasanain said that the company’s contracts and deliveries vary according to customer categories.

“Our products range from morning, lunch and afternoon meals for children to freshly squeezed juices and individual food items that can be sold individually at school canteens,” she said.

“We take the stress away for parents. Our clients are assured that our products are healthy because the meals are created based on the consultation of our in-house nutritionist.”

While Hasanain is well on her way to transforming the diets of children in Riyadh, she has her eye on the bigger picture.

The Blooming Bs entrepreneur also aims to solve childhood obesity in neighboring countries, such as the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

“During Blooming Bs’ expansion, I have tried to develop a holistic viewpoint on children’s nutrition, leading to improved operation processes and ideas,” Hasanain said.

“Blooming Bs also wants to empower Saudi and Arab women by creating more job opportunities,” she added.

“Ultimately, I see my company becoming an upscale international brand, trusted by parents, schools and governments.”

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• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.