The West African nation of The Gambia on Wednesday rebuked Yemeni rebels for targeting an airport in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh with a ballistic missile.
“The Gambia strongly condemns the launching of a ballistic missile by Houthi militias and their allies….. targeting the King Khalid International Airport….,” Gambia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Ministry condemns all actions geared towards escalating tension in the Gulf region or undermining the security, stability, and sovereignty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The missile was intercepted and drew an immediate condemnation from U.S. President Donald Trump, who blamed Iran in part for the attack, adding that they threatened the region’s security and undermined efforts to halt the conflict.
This is the first time that a Houthi missile has come so close to a heavily populated area, and it appears to be the farthest that such a missile has reached inside Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is around 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) north of the border with Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has accused Iran of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen, raising the stakes in an already tense standoff between the two regional rivals.
Iran denied it was behind the missile launch. On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said missile attacks from Yemen were a reaction to what he called Saudi aggression.
In reaction to the missile, the Saudi-led coalition closed all air, land and sea ports to the impoverished country. It also intensified air strikes on areas controlled by the Houthis including the capital Sanaa.
Human Rights Watch said the ballistic missile strike is most likely a war crime. The attack on Riyadh’s international airport is the latest in a series of indiscriminate Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, though it was the first to reach the capital.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting by News Agencies)