Coalition also announces strategic gains in Yemen liberation effort
RIYADH, January 5 (CIC) – The Arab Coalition Forces for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen said that its Air Defense Forces on Friday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Iranian-backed Houthi militias towards civilian areas in Najran in the south-west of the Kingdom near the border with Yemen.
“On January 5, 2018 at 7:56am the Air Defense Forces of the Arab Coalition spotted the launch of a ballistic missile from Yemeni territory towards Saudi Arabia. The missile was launched toward Najran, targeting civilian areas, but was intercepted and destroyed by the Kingdom’s Patriot missile defense system,” stated Col. Turki Almalki, the spokesperson for the Coalition.
“It caused minor damage to private property of one citizen and no loss of life.”
He said that this hostile action by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the militias with qualitative military capabilities in clear and explicit defiance of the UN Resolution 2216 and Resolution 2231, with the aim of threatening the security of Saudi Arabia and threatening regional and international security, as firing ballistic missiles at densely populated cities and villages is contrary to international humanitarian law.
Col. Almalki renewed his call for the international community to condemn Iran’s blatant violations of international humanitarian law, in the smuggling and supply of ballistic missiles and weapons to terrorist groups that are trying to destabilise the region and threaten its security.
In earlier remarks during a press briefing in Riyadh late on Wednesday, Col. Almalki said that the Coalition is making steady gains in its effort to liberate Yemen from the Iranian-Houthi militia, as it presented a new round of evidence at the briefing.
“We have made strategic gains in the ongoing campaign, and are working effectively with the Yemeni National Army to liberate areas from Houthi control. Currently more the 85 percent of the country is under the control of the legitimate Yemeni government,” Col. Almalki said during the briefing.
He was responding to a recent statement by Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, which he described as containing “inaccurate information”.
The latest evidence produced in support of the Coalition’s claim included a series of drone-aided video footage showing the process of identification and destruction of an extensive network of caves Under Ground Facility (UGF) used by the Houthis to store weapons in areas of Jabal Al Nahdain and “Al Amad camp” in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The spokesperson confirmed that no rules of engagement were broken in carrying out these tasks.
The footage also showed Houthi fighters, in civilian clothing, planting mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along the Saudi border. More than 444 sites have been eliminated since December 25, including weapon caches and naval mines laid by the Houthis in Yemeni territorial waters opposite Midi, Col. Almalki said.
With the support from the Yemeni army, the Coalition liberated the province of Shabwa and made significant advances into Al-Bayda governorate, 130 miles south-east of Sanaa.
In terms of the humanitarian response, the Coalition has issued over 2,700 naval, 7,500 aerial and 880 land border-entry permits and responded to over 6,000 de-conflict requests. Sixteen naval and land border access points are now receiving humanitarian aid around the clock, including the western port of Al-Mukha that has been liberated recently.
Between December 26 and January 1, 37 entry airplanes were allowed to deliver food and medical aid. Over the same period, aid ships have delivered 7,677 tonnes of food, 6 tonnes of medical aid and 56.9 tonnes of fuel.
Food aid from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) has arrived in Aden governorate in the south of Yemen in late December, as part of a project to provide aid to Taiz Governorate in the west.