White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan denounced an attempted drone attack Thursday by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport and said global allies will hold the rebels accountable.
Twelve people were injured at the airport by shrapnel from a drone intercepted by air defenses on Thursday, according to the Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the rebels since early 2015, after the group ousted Yemen’s globally recognized government from power.
Hours later, the rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We will work with our Saudi and international partners to hold them accountable,” Sullivan said in a statement released by the White House. “As the President told His Majesty King Salman yesterday, we are committed to supporting Saudi Arabia in the defense of its people and territory from these attacks.”
U.S. General Frank McKenzie, head of the U.S. Central Command overseeing American forces in the Middle East, has been in the United Arab Emirates helping the country strengthen its defenses after being targeted with a series of missile and drone attacks by the rebels.
Speaking from the UAE earlier this week, McKenzie said battlefield setbacks in Yemen by the rebels may have sparked recent attacks on UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, where a military base also hosts U.S. troops.
The war has pit Houthis against government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and an Arab coalition, including the UAE. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, triggering one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.