The Iran-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack soon afterward, with military spokesman Yehia Sareai saying the group used four bomb-laden drones to target Abha airport.
“This targeting comes in response to the continued aerial bombardment and the brutal siege on our country,” Sareai said, noting that the Houthis consider the airport a military not civilian target.
Col. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen, said the forces intercepted two bomb-laden drones launched by the Houthis toward the kingdom. He condemned the assault as a “systematic and deliberate attempt to target civilians in the southern region” of the country.
Wednesday’s attack represented the first one to reportedly damaged a civilian aircraft at the facility. Flight-tracking websites showed delayed and cancelled flights scheduled to either take off or land at the airport.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said in a statement that it will “hold the militia accountable in accordance with international humanitarian law,” referring to the Houthis.
The U.S. Air Force’s Central Command, based at Al-Udeid Air Base in neighboring Qatar, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(The Associated Press)
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