Iran-Backed Houthis in Yemen Fire Missile Into Saudi Arabia Killing Three Civilians

A missile fired from Yemen Saturday struck the Saudi southwestern border city of Najran, killing three civilians and injuring others, according to the Gulf Kingdom.

The incident marks “yet another violation of a ceasefire aimed at helping peace talks,” reports the Saudi Gazette.

Since March 26, a Saudi-led coalition and armed units loyal to the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been fighting Iran-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies, forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Iran-allied Houthis, who have controlled Yemen’s capital Sanaa since September 2014, and the coalition, backed by the United States, agreed to start a weeklong ceasefire on Dec. 12, ahead of the direct United Nations (UN)-sponsored peace talks that began soon after in Geneva.

Lt. Col. Ali Al-Shahrani, a Saudi Civil Defense spokesman, revealed that Saturday’s missile attack near a museum on the edge of Narjan left one Saudi citizen and two Indian workers dead.

The Saudi fatality was reportedly identified by the spokesman as Hamad Ali Yassin Al- Hatila, 40.

India Today quoted Lt. Col. Al-Shahrani as saying that “some people were injured” in the incident, without specifying how many.

B.S. Mubarak, India’s envoy in Jeddah, reportedly confirmed that two of his compatriots from India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu were killed in the attack.

“In September, an Indian was killed and three others were injured in mortar attacks in Saudi’s Jizan region by rebels in Yemen, known as Houthis,” reports India Today. “Just before Jizan incident, another Indian was killed and two others were injured in the same region.”

Indians constitute the largest group of expats in Saudi Arabia, notes the Indian news outlet. Hundreds of Indians live in Saudi cities of Jizan and Narjan, which lie along the border of war-torn Yemen.

Saturday’s missile attack comes after the Saudi-led coalition announced that two ballistic missiles were launched [last] Friday into the Gulf Kingdom from Yemen, notes the Saudi Gazette.

“One of the missiles was intercepted by Saudi air defenses, while the other struck a desert area east of Najran, the coalition said without reporting any casualties in that incident,” adds the report.

On the heels of the attack, Saudi Arabia’s border guard reportedly stressed a warning that residents should stay away from the frontier.

“On Thursday the [Saudi] Civil Defense agency said a civilian had been wounded in the Jizan border region by shelling from Yemen,” notes the Saudi Gazette.

“The ceasefire has been repeatedly breached since it came into force as UN-sponsored talks opened Tuesday in Switzerland,” it adds. “In Geneva, the UN announced that peace talks have ended.”

International aid groups estimate that up to 2,000 people have been killed and another 8,000 wounded in Yemen’s war. At least 1,037 civilians have been killed, according to the UN.


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