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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Houthis Continue to Violate International Law by Targeting Civilian Facilities in Saudi Arabia

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London

Wed, 12 Jun 2019 17:17 GMT

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militia have deliberately targeted civilian airports in Saudi Arabia in violation of international laws, in clear disregard of the international community and all laws that criminalise such acts.

The terrorist militia has acknowledged that it attacked Abha airport in south-west Saudi Arabia on Wednesday June 12th with a cruise missile and wounded at least 26 civilians including three women and two children.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states backing Yemen's government to wrest control of the country from the Houthi militia.

According to a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency(SPA), spokesperson for the Coalition Col Turki al-Maliki said the attack on a civilian airport, which is about 110km (70 miles) from the border with Yemen, was a violation of international humanitarian law and that it might constitute a war crime.

He confirmed that the coalition would "take urgent and timely measures to deter this terrorist militia and to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects."

Col Maliki said work was underway to identify the type of projectile involved but Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV cited militia military spokesperson Brig-Gen Yahia Sari as saying it was a cruise missile.

The terrorist attacks by the Houthis on Abha International Airport also demonstrate the Iranian regime's support of cross-border terrorism and its violation of Security Council resolutions.


On Tuesday June 11th the SPA said the Saudi air force also intercepted two Houthi drones that targeted Khamis Mushait city in the kingdom.

On Sunday May 26th the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces managed to intercept a Houthi drone packed with explosives heading toward Jazan airport.

On Thursday May 23rd Saudi air defence also intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone launched by Houthi militias towards Najran Airport.

On Monday May 20th the forces also intercepted two missiles over Mecca province launched by the Houthis. Reports said the missiles were targeting Mecca and Jeddah.

Last month two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia were hit by Houthi drones causing minor supply disruptions.

It is clear that the Houthis have deliberately targeted Saudi civilian facilities in the recent period and transferred their terrorist acts abroad with the support of Iran as the militia received all its military equipment from Tehran.

According to international law, military objectives are limited to those structures which by their own nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action. However, the Houthi militia have ignored this and targeted civilian facilities such as airports and industrial areas.

International law categorises the armed conflict in Yemen as a non-international armed conflict, which means it is subject to treaties and the rules of customary international law, according to the organisation Human Rights Watch.

The conflict is governed by Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which provides further protections for combatants and civilians during non-international armed conflicts, the rights organisation said.


According to the Geneva Conventions, all parties to Yemen’s armed conflict are responsible for complying with the requirements of international humanitarian law. The Conventions also confirm that each party must respect the laws of war.

The Houthis have contravened international humanitarian law, which provides protection for civilians and other non-combatants, by targeting civilian airports in Saudi.

Human Rights Watch said direct attacks on civilians and civilian facilities such as civil airports, roads, and bridges are prohibited in the war and any party responsible for that may be held criminally liable for attempting to commit a war crime.


Middle East