Jizan Airport is not far from the Saudi-Yemen border
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s state news agency says a drone carrying explosives from Yemen was intercepted and destroyed, injuring 16 people of various nationalities at a southern airport on Monday.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a crowd gathered at the King Abdullah Airport in the Saudi city of Jizan, near the Yemeni border. The Saudi Defense Ministry says the drone was launched from the airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
Saudi state TV said the condition of the three passengers was critical. It broadcast a short video clip of a glass shattering across the floor inside the airport near a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store. The state-run Ekbaria News Channel later shows passengers moving through Jizan Airport and reports that flights have resumed normally.
Saudi Arabia has been fighting Yemen’s civil war since 2015, fighting Iran-backed Houthis who have seized the capital, Sanaa, and ousted an internationally recognized government. Despite seven years of fighting and fighting, the Houthis control much of Sanaa and northern Yemen.
The attack on Jizan, a region near the Saudi border with Yemen, comes on the eve of a patriotic day in the state as the nation prepares to celebrate its first founding day. The date, which differs from the traditional National Day, is meant to symbolize the establishment and unification of the Saudi state by the Al Saud rulers. Celebrations are planned across the country and the king has considered it a holiday for both the private and public sectors.
The incident took place less than two weeks after a similar drone strike and interception at an airport in the southern Saudi region of Avata, near the state border with Yemen.
Yemen’s war has killed thousands of people, both fighters and civilians, and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Many more have been internally displaced.
The United Nations says the number of civilian casualties in January is the highest in at least three years. More than 650 civilians have been killed or injured in airstrikes, shelling, small arms fire and other violence in the past month. A coalition airstrike in January hit a Houthi stronghold of a white detainee, killing or wounding more than 300 detainees.
Fighting in the strategic city of Marib in recent months has led to an increase in Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are part of the Saudi-led coalition and support Yemeni militias fighting the Houthis.