Bomb-laden drone crashes into airport in Saudi Arabia

Houthis blamed after bomb-laden drone crashes into an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, wounding eight people.

Elad Benari ,

Houthis in Yemen
Houthis in Yemen

A bomb-laden drone crashed into an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, wounding eight people and damaging a civilian plane, The Associated Press reported, citing Saudi state television.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen blamed the assault on Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, saying it was the second such strike on Abha airport in the last 24 hours.

Saudi forces said they downed the drone, and that their interception sent fragments flying that punctured small holes in a passenger plane, shattered glass and wounded citizens of Bangladesh, Nepal and India.

One Bangladeshi man remained in critical condition, the coalition said, without offering further details about the assault, according to AP.

The attack comes days after missiles and drones slammed into a key military base in Yemen's south, killing at least 30 Saudi-backed Yemeni troops and marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country's civil war. No one claimed responsibility for this attack either.

The Houthis and their allies took over large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, in 2015. A Saudi-led military coalition then intervened in Yemen to try to restore the government.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.

Earlier this year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the removal of the Houthi rebels from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, reversing a decision that was made by the Trump administration days before the end of his term.