Germany, Britain and France denounce attack on Saudi airport

Germany, Britain and France denounce attack on Saudi airport
2 min read
12 February, 2021
Germany, France and the UK denounced an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels on a Saudi Arabian airport.
The attack, which left a Saudi civilian plane ablaze, was claimed by Yemen's Houthis [Getty]

An attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels on a Saudi Arabian airport was denounced Thursday by Berlin, London and Paris as a "violation of international law" in a joint statement from their foreign ministries.

Germany, Britain and France "strongly condemn" the drone attack on Abha's airport, the three said, adding that "continued attacks of this nature, including those which target civilian areas... illustrate the seriousness of the threat that the proliferation of drones poses to the stability of the region."

A drone strike launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis on Wednesday left a civilian plane ablaze at an international airport in the kingdom's southwest, drawing warnings from the United States days after it moved to delist the rebels as terrorists.

Pictures released by state media showed a blackened gash on the side of a passenger jet after the attack, which occurred on the same day the new US special envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh for talks.

The attack, claimed by the Houthis, was one of a series of rebel assaults on the kingdom despite a renewed American push to de-escalate Yemen's six-year conflict.

"Continued attacks of this nature, including those which target civilian areas in violation of international law, illustrate the seriousness of the threat that the proliferation of drones poses to the stability of the region," Germany, Britain and France said in their joint statement.

"We reiterate our firm commitment to the security and integrity of Saudi territory, and reaffirm our strong support for a swift resolution of the Yemeni conflict which will bring much-needed stability to the region," concluded the statement from "the E3".

On Thursday Saudi forces intercepted an armed drone fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Riyadh-led coalition said.

In Yemen itself, the Houthis have resumed an offensive to seize the government's last northern stronghold of Marib.

Saudi Arabia, which entered the Yemen conflict in 2015 to bolster the internationally recognised government, has repeatedly been targeted with cross-border attacks.

The grinding conflict between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition has left tens of thousands of people dead and millions displaced.

It has plunged the country - the poorest on the Arabian Peninsula - into the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, which has expressed fears that some "16 million people will go hungry" in 2021.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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