Saudi Shoots Down Smuggled Yemen Rebel Missiles

2017-03-29 - 9:31 p

Bahrain Mirror- AFP: Saudi Arabia intercepted four missiles fired by Yemeni rebels on Tuesday, a Saudi-led coalition said, in what it described as evidence of arms smuggling through a rebel-held Red Sea port.

The coalition said previously that it destroyed much of the Shiite rebels' missile capability early in its two-year-old bombing campaign and that persistent launches show they are receiving new deliveries from abroad.

"Early this morning, four missiles were intercepted," the coalition said.

"The ongoing missile attacks on Saudi cities provide clear evidence of the arms smuggling that continues to take place in Yemen, notably through the port of Hodeida."

The UAE condemned the continuous targeting of Saudi cities with ballistic missiles by the Houthis and their allies, the militias loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation called for the prevention of weapons smuggling at the port of Hodeida by the militias, who prolong the crisis and exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

The coalition said the missiles targeted Khamis Mushait, which houses the coalition's main airbase for its operations in Yemen, and Abha, another city close to the Yemeni border.

It said they were intercepted without casualties or damage.

The coalition has previously accused Shiite Iran of smuggling weapons to its coreligionists, a charge Tehran denies.

The coalition has enforced an air and sea blockade of rebel-held areas since the start of its intervention in March 2015.

Hodeida is the main port of entry for UN-supervised aid deliveries to rebel areas.

The UN World Food Programme said on Friday that a third of Yemen's 22 provinces were on the brink of famine.

It said it was providing food to around seven million people each month but that was less than half the 17 million who were going hungry.

Earlier this month, the coalition called on the United Nations to take full control of Hodeida to facilitate "ending the use of the port for weapons smuggling."

The UN rejected the request, saying the responsibility to protect infrastructure and civilians could not be shifted to other parties.

Sunday marked the second anniversary of the launch of the coalition's intervention.

More than 7,700 people have been killed since the intervention began, most of them civilians, according to World Heath Organisation figures.

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: Bahrain Mirror