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Saudi Arabia: Houthi attack kills 2 in Jizan

December 25, 2021

A Yemeni Houthi rebel attack on the Saudi Arabian town of Jizan resulted in two casualties and seven injured. Among the dead from the Houthi-fired projectile are a Saudi and a Yemeni national.

Residents inspect a neighborhood after airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen
Before a Houthi projectile hit Jizan, Saudi Arabia, killing two, a Saudi-led coalition strike hit a densely populated area near Sanaa, the Yemeni capitalImage: Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua/picture alliance

Yemeni Houthi rebels struck the Saudi border town of Jizan, resulting in two deaths and leaving seven injured, with Yemen also recording three deaths in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike, officials said Saturday.

"A military projectile fell on a commercial store on the main street, resulting in two deaths," Saudi civil defense said in a statement.

What do we know so far about the latest round of fighting?

The official Saudi Press Agency reports Houthi rebels in Yemen hit Jizan with a projectile late Friday. Of the two deaths, one is a Saudi citizen and the other a Yemeni national, and of the injured, six are Saudis and one is a Bangladeshi national, Saudi state media reported.

Nearby cars and shops were also damaged by shrapnel. The deadly attack signals an escalation in the conflict in Yemen as it is the first time in months Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have resulted in fatalities. 

Earlier on Friday, airstrikes were carried out near Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, by the Saudi-led military coalition. Those airstrikes targeted a military camp near the city center, officials said.

Medics told AFP news agency: "Three civilians including a child and a woman were killed, and six others were wounded."

Houthi media said the strikes had damaged homes in a densely populated neighborhood.

Houthi 'government': War won't stop until Saudis quit Yemen

What is the cause of the conflict in Yemen?

The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthis, backed by Iran, took control of Sanaa and much of northern Yemen.

Several months after the Houthis took Sanaa, the Saudi-led military coalition, backed by the US, attempted to oust the Houthis and reinstate the internationally-recognized government.

Since then, a war of attrition has continued unabated, with Yemen witnessing one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

What is happening in the conflict now?

As the war has dragged on, Houthis have stepped up the brazenness of their attacks on Saudi Arabia. Using drones and missiles, the Houthis have launched attacks on Saudi airports, oil facilities and military sites.

While Houthi attacks have failed to cause massive devastation, they have been enough to rattle global oil markets.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington D.C. reported Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have more than doubled this year compared to last year. CSIS records 78 Houthi attacks per month this year on Saudi Arabia, compared with 38 a month in 2020.

In Yemen, there is much criticism of the Saudi-led coalition's attacks for targeting civilians in one of the world's poorest countries. More than 80% of the population of 30 million requires food assistance.

Estimates on the number of fatalities caused by the conflict vary widely, though at least some 130,000 have been killed over the course of the conflict. By contrast, the UN estimates the conflict will have claimed 377,000 by the end of the year, both through the direct and indirect consequences of war, such as disease and starvation.

Riyadh and Tehran have partaken in Baghdad-sponsored talks to lower tensions in Yemen, but without success. The conflict is widely viewed as a proxy war of greater regional interests.

ar/wd (AFP, AP)