Vastavam web: The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen closed off the land, sea and air ports to the Arab world’s poorest country early today after a rebel- fired ballistic missile targeted Riyadh, blaming the launch on Iran and warning it could be “considered as an act of war.” The coalition’s statement ramps up tensions between the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and its Shiite rival Iran, both of which have interests in Yemen’s yearslong conflict.Iran has backed the rebels, but denies arming them. The Houthi militants have said their Volcano-variant ballistic missile is locally produced.
The Saudi-led coalition’s statement said the closures would be temporary and “take into account” the work of humanitarian and aid organisations. The war has claimed more than 10,000 lives and driven the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.The Saudi-led coalition launched a wave of airstrikes starting overnight and continuing until noon yesterday — on the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, apparently in response to the ballistic missile.”Therefore, the coalition’s command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The statement added: “The coalition command also affirms that the kingdom reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner.” There was no immediate response from Iran, though Iran’s defence minister, Gen. Amir Hatami, earlier denied his country was involved in the launch.Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran can’t transfer rockets to Yemen and stressed that the missiles were made there. He described Trump’s comments as “lies.”
The Houthis said in a statement that the missile was launched in response to bombings that have killed civilians.The Houthis have fired a number of missiles across the border in recent years, but this appeared to be the deepest strike yet within Saudi territory.Meanwhile in Aden, masked militants claimed by an Islamic State affiliate set off a large car bomb outside a security headquarters in Yemen’s southern port city early yesterday, killing at least 17 people before storming the compound, officials said. Fighting continued well into the night.The officials gave conflicting accounts of what happened next inside the building. They initially said that the militants had taken an unknown number of people hostage. Later they said that they opened cell gates and released prisoners.Security forces backed by an Apache helicopter continued to fight for control of the installation after nightfall, chasing down militants in the surrounding structures and neighbourhood.