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Yemen's Houthis say they targeted two Saudi airports with multiple drone attacks

Houthis have stepped up missile and drone attacks against Saudi cities as tensions have risen between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied with US
Houthis also threatening United Arab Emirates, key member of Arab coalition and Washington ally (AFP/file photo)

Yemen's Houthi movement launched fresh drone attacks targeting Jizan and Abha airports in southern Saudi Arabia, the group's Al-Masirah TV said on Saturday, adding that the installations were out of service.

Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV said Saudi forces had intercepted a ballistic missile targeting the southwestern city of Abha, Reuters reported. Later, the official Saudi Press Agency added that Saudi forces had intercepted a Houthi drone targeting Abha. The unmanned drone was downed with no casualties or damage reported, according to a statement.

The Iran-aligned rebel group said its multiple drone strikes targeted control rooms at Jizan airport and fuel station at Abha airport. It was unclear if there were any casualties resulting from the drone strikes.

"The two airports are now out of service. We promise the Saudi regime with more painful days as long as the aggression and siege continue on our country," the group's armed forces spokesman said in a tweet published by Al-Masirah TV's account.

Houthi attacks have increased since the US removed sanctions waivers on Iranian oil exports - a devastating blow to Tehran’s economy - and are believed to be part of a regional strategy to gain geopolitical leverage, the Arab Weekly said.

The Houthis have launched several strikes targeting Abha regional airport since Wednesday when a missile attack against the same airport wounded 26 people. Last month, the group carried out drone strikes on two Saudi oil-pumping stations.

Saudi Arabia is not the only country the Houthis have placed in the crosshairs, with threats also being levelled at the United Arab Emirates, which is a key member of the Arab coalition and a Washington ally, Arab Weekly said on its website.

“Our missiles are capable of reaching Riyadh and beyond Riyadh, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Houthi leader Abdelmalik al-Houthi said on Al-Masirah TV. “It is possible to target strategic, vital, sensitive and influential targets. We are able to strongly shake the Emirati economy.”

The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in 2015 in Yemen's civil war to restore the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said earlier this week it intercepted five drones that targeted Abha airport and Khamis Mushait in the same region.

In response to these attacks, the Western-backed coalition said it had destroyed Houthi military assets on the outskirts of the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.

Coalition leaders, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, accuse Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah of supporting the Houthis, a charge all three deny.