A Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen has accused Iran and Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Shi’ite militant movement Hizballah of helping the insurgents to launch missiles and drones at the kingdom.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki told reporters on December 26 that the Iran-aligned Huthis had been “militarizing” Sanaa airport and using it as a base to target Saudi Arabia, an allegation the Huthis deny.

Malki showed reporters a video clip which he said depicted “the headquarters of Iranian and Hizballah experts at the airport,” where the Islamic militant group allegedly “trains the Huthis to booby-trap and use drones.”

The footage and Malki’s claims could not be independently verified.

He said that the rebels had fired 430 ballistic missiles and 851 armed drones at Saudi Arabia since 2015, killing 59 Saudi civilians.

The most recent casualties were reported on December 24, when the coalition claimed that a Huthi missile hit the Saudi city of Jazan, killing two people.

Saudi officials have regularly accused Iran of supplying the Huthis with weapons and Hizballah of training the insurgents.

Tehran denies the accusations. Hizballah has previously denied sending fighters or weapons to Yemen to support the Huthis.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Huthis have been locked in war since 2014, when the insurgents seized Sanaa.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, supporting forces of the ousted government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fighting the Huthis.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Source » rferl