The new United Nations envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, started his assignment officially on Sunday (5 September). Tension in the region remains high. Hours before Grundberg assumed office authorities in Saudi Arabia announced they had intercepted three ballistic missiles targeting the country’s oil-rich eastern region as well as the cities of Najran and Jazan in the south.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attacks, but the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen blamed the Iran-aligned rebel group.
Earlier, the coalition also reported the interception of three explosive-laden drones headed towards Saudi Arabia. The attacks come four days after a drone hit Abha International Airport in the south, wounding 8 people and damaging a civilian plane.
Falling debris from Saturday's attack also caused slight damage to 14 residential houses, coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The second missile targeted the southwestern region of Najran late Saturday, followed by a third on the adjacent region of Jazan, which was shot down by Saudi air defenses at 9:23 p.m., Al-Maliki said. Earlier in the day, coalition air defences intercepted three booby-trapped drones launched by the Houthis, he said.
Brigadier Al-Maliki told SPA that Houthi attempts to target civilians and civilian objects is not only hostile and barbaric, but also "incompatible with heavenly values and humanitarian principles".
The coalition said it is taking strict measures to protect civilians the cross-border attacks.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the attacks and praised the Kingdom’s air defence forces for intercepting them.
OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen affirmed the organisation’s support for all measures taken by the Kingdom to protect its land, security, and stability.
The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing forces of the deposed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fighting the Houthis.
The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, resulting in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.