Arab deputies urge UN to call Huthis 'terrorists'

Cairo (AFP) –


Arab parliamentarians gathered in Cairo on Wednesday urged the United Nations to list Yemen's Huthi rebel movement as a "terrorist organisation" while accusing it of attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The Huthis have intensified attacks in the past few weeks against the kingdom, which launched military operations in Yemen in 2015 as part of a coalition to push back against the Shiite rebels.

The parliament of the Arab League decided Wednesday to "ask the UN and the Security Council to take a firm and immediate position by classifying the putschist Huthi militia a terrorist organisation".

The body made up of representatives from the parliaments in the pan-Arab bloc accused the Huthis of "regularly targeting civilian and vital infrastructure in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles or drones".

On June 12, a missile fired at Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded dozens of civilians -- in an attack claimed by the Huthis.

The rebels also claimed responsibility for a series of drone strikes on Saudi Arabia, including an attack that damaged two oil pipeline pumping stations on May 14.

Saudi Arabia accuses its regional arch-rival Iran of being behind the attacks, either directly or through supporting the Huthi rebels.

On Wednesday, the parliamentarians meeting in Cairo also asked the Arab League to put before the UN Security Council "the issue of Iran's threats and interference".

Yemen's war pits a pro-government coalition led by Saudi Arabia against the Iran-aligned Huthis who control much of the north and west of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, while 3.3 million people are still displaced and 24.1 million are in need of aid.