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12 hurt in attack targetting airport near Yemen

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AP) – The coalition fighting in Yemen said 12 people were injured by falling debris from an attempted drone attack on Thursday on an airport in the southern Saudi region of Abha, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen.

Hours later, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been battling the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Saudi air defences destroyed the bomb-laden drone, according to the coalition. Saudi state television and accompanying social media accounts carried video from inside Abha’s airport showing operations there running as normal after the incident.

The coalition said the people who were hurt included travellers and workers at the airport.

Two of the injured were Saudi citizens, four were Bangladeshi residents and three were Nepali residents. There was also one person each from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and India hurt.

A Yemen rebel spokesman, Brigadier General Yehia Sarie, tweeted that a Houthi drone had hit the target with “precision”, insisting that the airport in Abha is used to carry out attacks
on Yemen.

Saudi passengers entering the departure terminal of Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: AP

Saudi Arabia has been involved in Yemen’s civil war since 2015, fighting against the rebel Houthis who overran the capital, Sanaa, and ousted the internationally recognised government from power.

On Tuesday, United States (US) President Joe Biden spoke with Saudi King Salman. The White House said the president and king discussed “attacks by the Houthis against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia”.

Biden underscored US commitment in supporting Saudi Arabia in the defence of its people and territory from such attacks, it added.

Washington condemned Thursday’s attack and said the US would work with the kingdom and international partners to hold the Houthis responsible. “America will have the backs of our friends in the region,” said US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

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