RIYADH, ISLAMABAD: The Arab coalition on Friday intercepted and destroyed six Houthi drones targeting the southwestern Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said the Iranian-backed militia’s attempts to attack civilians in a deliberate and systematic manner constituted war crimes.
A child and a civilian were injured as a result of flying shrapnel, according to the General Directorate of Civil Defense in Asir. No casualties were reported.
He added that the coalition had put in place measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The UAE condemned the latest Houthi attempt to strike Khamis Mushayt, with its Foreign Ministry describing recent air attacks as a dangerous escalation of the militia group’s efforts to undermine security and stability in the region.
Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak said the situation hindered the peace process and blamed Iran for the ongoing crisis in the country.
“The Iranian interventions have become a formidable obstruction to peace as Iran has turned the Yemeni conflict into a negotiating card that the Iranian regime capitalizes on to serve its nuclear negotiations,” he added.
Djibouti’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dya-Eddine Said Bamakhrama, urged the international community to take a united stand against terrorist acts that destabilized the security of the region.
Ali Al-Balawi, a strategic analysis expert, said the increase in Houthi attacks ran contrary to the efforts of the US administration to help bring an end to the war and other crises in Yemen.
“I think that the matter (the escalation in attacks) is related to the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file, as Tehran doesn’t want to give the (American President Joe) Biden administration a long time to return to the agreement and with conditions, but rather wants to push it to negotiate by force,” he told Arab News.
The war was an extension of diplomacy, Al-Balawi added, and was primarily an Iranian escalation that would not be confined to Yemen only. “The indications are that Iran has given its militias instructions to escalate in Iraq, the last of which was targeting the Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq.”
He pointed out that the Iranians believed Biden’s administration to be weak and preoccupied with internal US divisions and its strained relations with China.
“Accordingly, there is Iranian bullying and attempts to obstruct the maritime movement in the Arab Gulf, and therefore the ball is now in the American court. The statements that have no effect on the reality are enticing Iran to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries of the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) on Friday called for immediate international action to stop the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“(The) United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Security Council should take immediate action against the constant attacks on Saudi cities and people of Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels,” said Tahir Ashrafi, the PUC chairman who is also the Pakistani prime minister’s special assistant on religious harmony and the Middle East.
“The security, stability, and peace of Saudi Arabia is dear to every Muslim,” he told Arab News, adding that international organizations should “play a proactive role against the attackers.”