Houthi rebels targeted Saudi Arabia with Iranian-made missiles

The Saudi blockade is limiting access to clean water, like that pictured here in Sanaa, Yemen. The Saudi blockade is limiting access to clean water, like that pictured here in Sanaa, Yemen. Mohammad Hamoud/Getty Images

26 December 2017
Saudi Arabia’s reaction to the Houthi rebels’ use of Iranian-made missiles is worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

A United Nations report first covered by Reuters states that missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels appear to have been made in Iran. The Saudi government claims that Iran supplied the weapons to the Houthi rebels, although the report has not found evidence of this. Tehran backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen, but denies supplying them with weapons.

The Saudi government announced a tightening of its blockade in Yemen after Houthi rebels fired one of these missiles toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh on 4 November. The missile targeted King Khalid International Airport, but was reportedly intercepted by the US-made Patriot missile defence system. There were no reported injuries.

The Saudi blockade has escalated the crisis in Yemen by closing the country’s borders and Red Sea ports and cutting off access to lifesaving humanitarian aid. Severe famine will continue to worsen, as 90 per cent of the country’s food is imported. Yemen is also experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, with 900,000 suspected cases and the possibility of reaching 1,000,000 this year. Because of the blockade, the fuel needed to provide clean drinking water and the medicine required to treat patients are largely inaccessible.

Not accounting for the Saudi blockade, Save the Children estimated that 50,000 malnourished Yemeni children would die this year from starvation or disease. If the blockade continues, more will likely die in what the United Nations Children´s Fund (UNICEF) has called “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

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