Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Iran says Saudi strike hits embassy in Yemen; no damage seen

Published:Friday | January 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold posters of late Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia, during an anti-Saudi protest outside the Saudi embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, yesterday.


Iran yesterday accused a Saudi-led coalition of hitting its embassy in Yemen in an airstrike, and even though no damage was visible on the building from the outside, the allegation highlighted how the two countries' standoff could endanger the greater Middle East.

Hours later, in Saudi Arabia's eastern Shiite heartland, a memorial service was held honouring Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution on Saturday by the kingdom sparked regional protests culminating in attacks on Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran.

While armoured personnel carriers rumbled through the area and smoke from burning tires rose into the air, the service for the cleric who advocated for Shiite rights in the Sunni-ruled kingdom passed without violence. But anger could be felt in the hall, as videos showed mourners shouting: "Death to the Al Saud", a reference to the royal family.

The airstrike claim by Iran came yesterday afternoon, when its state-run news agency said a Saudi-led airstrike the previous night had hit the Iranian embassy in Sanaa, citing Iran's foreign ministry. However, an Associated Press reporter who reached the site just after the announcement saw no damage to the building, which sits in a neighbourhood near a presidential palace that has seen many previous strikes.

Iran vowed to file a report about their claim to the United Nations, while the Saudi military issued a statement through the kingdom's state news agency, dismissing the allegation as false.