Saudi airstrikes against Sana’a airport force Iran’s aid plane to return

An Iranian cargo plane carrying medical aid and foodstuff for crisis-hit people in Yemen has been forced to return as Riyadh pushes ahead with its deadly airstrikes against the Arab state, Press TV reports.

Press TV has learned that the Iranian aircraft, which had earlier received permits from Omani and Yemeni aviation officials to cross into Yemen’s airspace, could not land at the international airport in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, as Saudi warplanes were violently striking the runway of the civil airport.

The development comes days after Saudi fighter jets intercepted an Iranian airplane, carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, and prevented it from entering the Yemeni airspace on April 22.

Following Riyadh’s interception of the Iranian aid flight, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s chargé d’affaires in Tehran to express its protest over the move.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said the Saudi move came after the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) had obtained the necessary permission to fly in the Oman-Yemen route and send a plane in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to fly Yemeni patients back to Iran and distribute medical aid to the injured in the war-wracked country.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Yemen and its prevention of the delivery of the Islamic Republic’s humanitarian aid to the country will not go unanswered.

“We consider all options for helping the Yemeni people and immediate dispatch of humanitarian aid and transfer of the injured,” he noted.

Houthi Ansarullah fighters stand in the rubble after a Saudi airstrike in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on April 28, 2015. © AFP

Saudi Arabia launched its air campaign against Yemen on March 26 – without a United Nations mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

On April 21, Riyadh announced the end of the first phase of its unlawful military operation, which has claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people so far, but airstrikes have continued with Saudi bombers targeting different areas across the country in a new phase.

According to Yemen’s Health Ministry, the month-long Saudi aggression has killed nearly 150 children and around 100 women.

By Press TV