Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces on Monday intercepted two drones launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen that targeted the southwest city of Khamis Mushait, the Saudi Press Agency reported .
The city, which is located some 815 kilometers (510 miles) southwest of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, is near the kingdom’s border with Yemen and home to an air base.
The Houthi rebels recently intensified their drone attacks on Saudi targets amid rising tension in the Persian Gulf. Last month, the kingdom’s air force shot down a bomb-carrying drone that targeted Jizan airport, a facility used by thousands of civilians every day.
Iran has long been deploying terror proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to further its sectarian agenda and to take on regional rivals far from its own borders. As a result, Houthi rebels have increasingly incorporated anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric into their speeches.
In October 2018, Houthi rebels handed out student and staff ID cards at the University of Sana’a with a slogan saying, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
The Iranian-backed group stormed the capital in September 2014 and have since fought the internationally-recognized Yemeni government, now stationed in Aden, as well as the Saudi-led coalition backing it.
Iran’s use of Yemen as a southern gateway to attack Gulf states via Houthi attacks, primarily aimed at the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, has been one of the most concerning developments of the conflict.
The Houthis have also been accused of preventing ships from unloading critical fuel and food supplies at Hodeidah port, a gateway accounting for at least 70 percent of Yemen’s aid and the illegal flow of Iranian weaponry to Houthi fighters.
Last month, the World Food Program (WFP) said Houthi rebels diverted critical aid deliveries in Yemen, where millions of people are on the brink of famine. “This violates the most fundamental international standards of humanitarian principles because innocent people are suffering from food diversion, theft, corruption,” the organization said in a statement.
[Photo: Aiman titi / Wikimedia Commons]