Sixteen people, including foreign nationals, were injured in Saudi Arabia when a drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting an airport in the kingdom was destroyed.
A coalition statement, cited by the Saudi state news agency SPA on Monday, said the drone was launched towards King Abdullah Airport in the southwestern Jizan province.
According to the statement, victims suffered injuries from shrapnel during the drone interception.
The coalition said the drone was fired “from Sanaa International Airport to target civilians”.
“Sixteen civilians of different nationalities were injured,” it said.
Saudi state TV reported three travellers were in critical condition.
It aired a short video clip of the aftermath that showed glass shattered across the floor inside the airport.
The state-run Ekhbariya news channel later showed travellers moving about within Jizan’s airport and reported that flights were back to operating normally.
The incident is the second airport attack in less than two weeks blamed on, or claimed by, the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
It comes less than two weeks after a similar attempted drone attack and interception resulted in 12 people wounded at an airport in the southern Saudi city of Abha, also near the kingdom’s border with Yemen.
In response, the coalition said it destroyed a communications system used for drone attacks on February 14 located near the telecoms ministry in Sanaa.
In December, the coalition said the Houthis had fired more than 850 drones and 400 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia in the previous seven years, killing a total of 59 civilians.
That figure compares with the 401 coalition air raids carried out in January alone over Yemen, according to the Yemen Data Project, an independent tracker which reported about 9,000 civilian fatalities from the raids in that country since 2015.
Rights groups have long criticised the coalition for civilian casualties in its aerial bombardments.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) said on Twitter that “following bombing” overnight in Yemen’s Hajjah province, its team in the emergency room of Abs general hospital “received a 12-year-old girl and a 50-year-old woman, both dead on arrival”.
They also received “10 wounded civilians, most of them women and children, including one pregnant woman”.
Following bombing in #Hajjah governorate of #Yemen, @MSF team in the emergency room of #Abs general hospital received a 12-year-old girl and a 50-year-old woman, both dead on arrival, and 10 wounded civilians, most of them women and children, including one pregnant woman. pic.twitter.com/TsOwdrRdb8
— MSF Yemen (@msf_yemen) February 21, 2022
Fighting has escalated in the province, MSF said, expressing deep concern over “the terrible impact of indiscriminate attacks, including bombing and shelling on civilians on both sides of the front lines”.
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis since 2015, one year after the rebels overran much of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
The eight-year conflict has created one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80 percent of the country, or about 30 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, according to UN estimates.
The UN has estimated the war killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly through hunger and disease.