Published: Thu, June 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Japan's Prime Minister Abe arrives in Tehran on historic visit

Japan's Prime Minister Abe arrives in Tehran on historic visit

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim alliance that has been battling the Houthis in Yemen said the attack was proof of Tehran's support for what it called cross-border terrorism.

Malki described the incident as a "terrorist attack" on a civilian target which could be considered a "war crime".

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, a spokesperson for the coalition, said: "At 02:21 this morning, a hostile rocket landed at the arrival lounge at Abha International Airport, which has thousands of civilian passengers daily from different nationalities".

The coalition spokesman said the missile hit "proves this terrorist militia's acquisition of new advanced weapons and the continuation of the Iranian regime's support and waging of cross-border terrorism".

Rouhani indicated that Japan would like to continue buying Iranian oil, which is now penalized by several layers of U.S. sanctions, although it is unclear whether Japan intends to go forward with the purchases.

Saudi officials said that attack was ordered by Iran, but didn't provide evidence to back their claims.

Speaking at Tokyo's Haneda Airport just before departing, Abe acknowledged "rising tensions" in the Middle East and said, "Japan wants to do as much as possible towards peace and stability in the region".

There was no immediate response from Iran, which has denied arming the Houthis.

The attack is just the latest in a wave of rebel drone and missile attacks targeting the kingdom, which has been mired in a yearslong war in Yemen that has killed an estimated 60,000 people and pushed the Arab world's poorest nation to the brink of starvation.

The coalition spokesman did not immediately respond when asked if the projectile had been intercepted by the kingdom's Patriot missiles before hitting the airport.

More recently, they have launched bomb-laden drones targeting a key oil pipeline and the southwest city of Khamis Mushait.

Palestine, Egypt and Djibouti also condemned the missile strike.

Rouhani said an end to the "economic war" would result in "a very positive development in the region and the world".

The uptick in violence comes as a United Nations-led peace push falters despite the rebels' unilateral withdrawal from the lifeline Red Sea port of Hodeidah last month.

"The Houthis ... are saying these kind of attacks are revenge for Saudi Arabia's escalation and their attacks on civilian areas over the past four years", Al-Attab said from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Abe has talked to USA regional allies like Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have supported Trump's Iran policy. More than 22 million people in Yemen are desperate for humanitarian aid and protection.

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