Yemenis in Sana'a watch the news on TV after Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi airport on July 2. Houthi rebels claimed Monday that they attacked King Khalid Air Base, starting a fire. Photo by Yahya Arhab/EPA-EFE
July 16 (UPI) -- A drone attack at King Khalid Air Base in southwest Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels Monday produced conflicting narratives.
Rebel-controlled television reported the drone attack at the base -- located in Khamis Mushait, where the Royal Saudi Air launches missions -- "accurately targeted" a weapons storage site and sparked a fire.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, a Yemeni armed forces spokesman, said the attack was a response to airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition, which conducted 20 bombings since Monday.
"Drones and missile operations will continue and will expand ... in a manner that is not expected by the Saudi regime as long as [it] continues its aggression, siege and contempt," Saree said.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Saudi forces shot down two unmanned Houthi drones that targeted civilians in Khamis Mushait.
Saudi Col. Turki Al-Malki said shrapnel and debris fell into a residential neighborhood as a result of shooting down the drones, causing minor damage to a residential building and some vehicles, but resulting in no deaths.
Al-Malki said the Houthi attack deliberately targeted civilians, reflecting "the bankruptcy of the terrorist militia and its immoral approach with such terrorist acts and that these frequent terrorist and hostile attacks are systematic to target civilians, in a clear and explicit violation of international humanitarian law," according to the statement.
On June 12, Houthi rebels launched a rocket attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha International Airport, injuring 26 civilians.
The attacks are part of the continuation of the civil war between the Saudi-led Yemen government and the Houthi rebels, who have been in control of the country's capital of Sana'a since 2015. The war has left some 22 million people in need and thousands displaced.