RIYADH – The Saudi-led coalition confronting Houthi rebels closed the country’s air, sea and land borders with Yemen Monday besides accusing Iran of being behind a missile attack saying it ‘may amount to an act of war’.
Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile near Riyadh’s international airport on Saturday which was launched from Yemen as rebels appeared to flex their muscles.
The missile was the first aimed by the rebels at the heart of the Saudi capital, Riyadh pointing to the fact that the everything was not hunky dory between the competitors.
‘The leadership of the coalition forces therefore considers this… a blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war,’ the official Saudi news agency SPA said in a statement.
The statement continued that the borders were being closed ‘to fill the gaps in the inspection procedures which enable the continued smuggling of missiles and military equipment to the Houthi militias loyal to Iran in Yemen’.
It added that despite the temporary closure of the air, sea and land ports, Saudi Arabia would protect the entry and exit of relief and humanitarian personnel.
‘The coalition… affirms the kingdom’s right to respond to Iran at the appropriate time and in the appropriate form,’ it added.
Meanwhile, a day before the statement, the militant Islamic State group claimed a major attack on Yemen’s government bastion of Aden killing at least 15 people.
Let it be known that the Saturday’s missile interception stirred panic among royal bigwigs of hydrocarbon powerhouse amid a relief that no loss of life or injury was reported.
Saudi Arabia throws weight behind the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and hi Houthi rebel allies.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 8,650 people have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2015 and nearly 49,000 wounded.