Iranian Plane Breaches Saudi No-Fly Zone in Yemen

Saudis bomb runway at Sana'a airport to block Iranian plane from landing, amid fears Iran will further arm Houthis.

Ari Yashar ,

Saudi soldiers on Yemen border (file)
Saudi soldiers on Yemen border (file)
Reuters

An Iranian civilian plane breached the Saudi-led Arab coalition's no-fly zone in Yemen, leading coalition forces to bomb a runway at the Sana'a airport on Tuesday to prevent it from landing.

The no-fly zone has been in place since Operation Decisive Storm - meant to weaken via airstrikes the Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi militia that seized power in Yemen - began on March 25, reports Al Arabiya.

The incident is particularly concerning given the high likelihood that Iranian planes will provide weapons and support to the Houthis, given that it has backed the group in their push to conquer Yemen.

While the Saudi operation was declared completed last Tuesday, it has morphed into a new phase termed Operation Restoration of Hope, as the Saudi-led military intervention continues.

"Iranian actions towards Yemen are irresponsible. Defying the no-fly zone doesn't serve the interest of Yemenis," Saudi operation spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri told Al Arabiya.

Asiri said the plane did not follow orders to stop at the Bisha airport in Saudi Arabia for inspection prior to arriving in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a.

"We reiterated several times that humanitarian efforts need to be coordination with the coalition first," said the general. "The runway has been bombarded and it will now take time to fix, this is Iran’s responsibility as it defied several warning calls we made."

The Saudi operation aims to place President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in power, after he was forced to flee the country by the Houthis as they captured large swathes of Yemen.




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