TIMELINE: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

Houthis attacked Abha airport on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019

TIMELINE: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen have attacked Saudi Arabia's territory, killing and injuring civilians in the process, often to international condemnation. On Wednesday, the militia launched a missile at Abha airport, injuring at least 26 people.

Here is a look at other incidents of terror perpetrated by the Houthis against the Kingdom.

May 5, 2015: Saudi Arabia suspended schools in the southern town of Najran after Iran-backed Houthi militias fired at the city from Yemen, Al Arabiya news channel reported. 

At least two civilians were killed in the attack, while five Saudi soldiers were captured by the Houthi militants, the Associated Press reported, quoting tribal leaders who chose to be unnamed.

June 7, 2015: Saudi troops shot down a Scud missile fired into the Kingdom from Yemen before dawn, the coalition command said.

Oct. 28, 2016: Saudi ground defenses intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah.

The Arab coalition said in a statement that the missile was downed 65 kilometers from Makkah, adding that coalition jet fighters attacked the rocket launchers in Saada and destroyed them.

July 28, 2017: Saudi air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched toward Makkah by Yemen’s Houthi militia, according to the Arab coalition command.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the coalition command said the missile was shot down over Al-Wasliya area in Taif province, some 69 kilometers away from Makkah. No damage or injuries were reported.

The missile attack was “clearly a desperate attempt to disrupt the Hajj season,” the statement said.

Nov. 4, 2017: The Houthis launched a missile at Riyadh, targeting King Khalid International Airport. Saudi air defense forces intercepted the missile and shot it down, and there was no damage.

Dec. 20, 2017: Houthi militias in Yemen fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh, targeting Al-Yamamah Royal Palace in the Saudi capital.

“The missile was intercepted by Saudi patriot defense systems south of Riyadh, causing the debris to scatter,” the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate Yemeni government said. 

MalikiCoalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al- said that no one was injured and no properties were damaged.

May 15, 2018: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces (RSADF) intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militia over the southern city of Jazan, the Arab coalition spokesman said.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki announced that at 12:40 p.m., Saudi air defense intercepted a ballistic missile launched within Yemeni territories toward the Kingdom’s territories. 

The missile was directed toward populated areas in Jazan province. 

June 10, 2018: Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile over the southern city of Jazan after being fired from rebel-held territory in Yemen, the Arab coalition said.

Debris from the missile landed in residential areas of Jazan without causing casualties, the coalition said in a statement released by SPA.

The attack came a day after three civilians were killed in Jazan when Houthi militia fired a “projectile” at the province.

June 24, 2018: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles over Riyadh, launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Homes in the Saudi capital shook and there were at least six loud blasts, bright flashes in the sky and puffs of smoke above the city. There were no reports of casualties.

April 2, 2019: Two Houthi drones targeting civilian areas in Khamis Mushayt, a mountain city in Asir region, were intercepted and destroyed. 

Five people were reported injured by falling debris. Four vehicles and a number of houses were damaged.

April 8, 2019: Arab coalition air defense forces intercepted a Houthi drone aimed at Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Asir, SPA said.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki, Arab coalition spokesperson, said that at 10:50 p.m. local time, Saudi air defenses spotted the drone heading towards a populated area in the Asir region. 

The drone was shot down before reaching its target and nobody had been reported injured by falling debris from the unmanned aerial vehicle, he said.

Al-Maliki said that the militia continued to target civilians with drone attacks as well as booby-trapped boats in violation of the Stockholm Agreement signed by the militia and the Yemeni government and its coalition backers.

He said that “these acts of terrorism” aimed to provoke the coalition forces into carrying out military action in the province of Hodeidah.

May 13, 2019: Two Saudi tankers were targeted off the coast of the UAE. The Kingdom’s energy minister said the two vessels were targeted off Fujairah. He said that one tanker was en route to the Kingdom to be loaded with Saudi crude oil for the US.

May 14, 2019: Between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., two pump stations on the East-West pipeline were attacked by armed drones, which caused a fire and minor damage to Pump Station No. 8. The fire has since been contained. 

“The pipeline transports Saudi oil from the Eastern Province to Yanbu port,” a statement from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. 

The early-morning attack, the second that week in the Gulf, targeted two pumping stations operated by Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco later confirmed the attack in a statement, stating that it had “responded to a fire at East-West Pipeline Pump Station 8 which was caused by a sabotage incident using armed drones which targeted pump stations 8 and 9.”

May 20, 2019: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down two ballistic missiles that Al-Arabiya reported were heading toward Jeddah and Makkah.

The forces “monitored air targets flying over restricted areas in Jeddah and Taif province, and were dealt with accordingly,” Arab coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

June 11, 2019: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down two weaponized drones launched by the Houthis from Yemen toward the city of Khamis Mushayt, Al-Maliki said.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”