US condemns air attack on Riyadh, vows to protect stability of Kingdom
US says ‘will help our partner Saudi Arabia defend against attacks on its territory’
Arab coalition thwarted an attack on Riyadh on Saturday by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen
The US on Sunday condemned an attempted air attack on Riyadh at the weekend and said anyone who tried to undermine the Kingdom’s stability would be held to account.
The strike on the Saudi capital on Saturday, which was thwarted by air defenses, “appears to have been an attempt to target civilians,” the State Department said.
“Such attacks contravene international law and undermine all efforts to promote peace and stability,” it said. “As we work to de-escalate tensions in the region through principled diplomacy, including by bringing an end to the war in Yemen, we will also help our partner Saudi Arabia defend against attacks on its territory and hold those who attempt to undermine stability to account.”
Britain also condemned the attack, which “undermined regional peace.”
“We strongly condemn these attacks, and we stand by our Saudi partners,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
The attack came days after the US designated Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization. Yemenis on Sunday launched a social media campaign to highlight Houthi crimes and to convince other countries to follow the US.
The organizers said they wanted to “inform the world about the terrorism acts by the Houthi militia against Yemenis and to call all free countries to designate them as a terrorist organization.”
Dozens of Yemeni journalists, human right activists, intellectuals and officials have condemned the group’s human right abuses, using the hashtag #HouthiTerrorismInYemen, and shared images and videos that show Houthis blowing up the houses of their opponents.
“The Houthis waged numerous wars against civilians,” activist Mohammed Abdullah Qassem said. “Even now, they are still attacking Taiz, Mareb, Al-Bayda, etc. They insist on ruling Yemenis by force, based on the theory of the divine right to rule, the ideology that the West overthrew centuries ago.”
Meanwhile, Yemen government officials and the Houthis militias began talks on Sunday to secure a second historic agreement on an exchange of prisoners.
The meeting in Amman, Jordan, aims to free about 300 detainees, including high-ranking officials such as former Defense Minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and the Yemen president’s brother Nasser Mansour Hadi.Previous talks led to the release of 1,065 inmates in October and rekindled hopes of striking a deal to end the war.