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Yemeni rebels claim new drone attack on Saudi airport

A security officer walks past the Abha airport in Saudi Arabia after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group on June 13. (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters)

CAIRO — Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed Monday to have launched a fresh drone attack on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia, according to the Houthi-owned Al-Masirah television network.

There was no immediate confirmation of the attack on Abha airport from Saudi Arabia. 

If true, it would represent the latest in a series of attacks by the Houthis inside Saudi Arabia in recent days. Last week, the group claimed responsibility for a cruise missile attack that wounded 26 people inside a terminal at the airport, roughly 125 miles north of Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia. 

Since then, the Houthis have launched several more attacks targeting Abha and another airport in the city of Jizan. A Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said last week that it had intercepted and downed as many as six Houthi drones since the initial attack on Abha airport last Wednesday.

The attacks come amid growing tensions between Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia and other regional powers over accusations by the United States that Tehran was behind last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Even before the attacks, the region was on edge as the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran and sent additional troops to the Gulf. 

The war in Yemen is widely seen as a proxy war pitting Iran against the American-backed Saudi-led coalition. The Iran-aligned Houthis drove out the internationally recognized Yemeni government in 2015, triggering an intervention by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim nations wary of Shiite Iran’s growing regional influence.

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