White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hit out at the Iran-backed Houthis Thursday after they claimed an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport.
“The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack against Abha in Saudi Arabia, which injured at least a dozen innocent civilians,” a statement from the White House read.
Sullivan said the US would stand with Saudi Arabia and its international allies to hold the Houthis “accountable.”
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden called King Salman to voice Washington’s commitment to support Saudi Arabia in the defense of its people and territory from such attacks.
“America will have the backs of our friends in the region,” Sullivan said on Thursday.
Debris from an intercepted Houthi drone reportedly fell within the vicinity of Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport, bringing air traffic to temporary halt.
Abha, near Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen, is a regular target of drone and missile strikes launched by the Houthis fighting coalition forces in Yemen.
During their call Wednesday, Biden and King Salman discussed regional developments and issues of mutual concern, “including Iranian-enabled attacks by the Houthis against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.”
A statement from the White House said Biden underscored Washington’s commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia in the defense of Houthi attacks and “full support for UN-led efforts to end the war in Yemen.”
Biden said last month that the US was considering re-designating the Houthis as a terror organization, as the UAE and other countries ramped up pressure to make the move.
One of the US president’s first foreign policy moves after taking office saw the Houthis removed from the terror blacklist.
Additionally, the Biden administration lifted senior Houthi officials’ names off the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list.
In the meantime, political sources in Washington believe Biden will sanction individual Houthi officials for the time being.
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