Iran Accuses Saudis Of hitting Yemen embassy


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Iran has accused Saudi-led coalition warplanes of damaging its embassy and injuring staff in an air strike on Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

State media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying planes had deliberately targeted the site.

But some later reports in Iran said missiles struck only in the vicinity of the embassy.

Residents and witnesses in Sanaa reported there was no damage to the main embassy building.

Sanaa residents reported dozens of air strikes on Thursday by the coalition, which is battling Houthi rebels.

Residents quoted by Reuters said missiles had struck 700m (2,300 feet) from the embassy, causing shrapnel and rocks to land near the building.

A coalition spokesman said the strikes had targeted rebel missile launchers, and that the rebels had used abandoned embassies for operations.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with Iran after a Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, was executed by the Saudi authorities.

Iranian protesters in Tehran, angry at the execution, then attacked the Saudi embassy, leading Saudi Arabia to cut off diplomatic relations. A number of Saudi allies have followed suit in taking diplomatic action against Iran.


On Thursday, a statement read on Iranian state TV said the country had banned the import of all Saudi goods.

‘Deliberate action’

The Saudis accuse Iran of supporting the Houthis in Yemen militarily – a charge it denies.

It is not clear whether the Iranian embassy was fully functioning, but a number of countries have withdrawn their staff or relocated missions to the port city of Aden in the past year.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, earlier said the raid had injured “a number of the building’s guards”, according to the Iranian news agency Ilna.

He called the incident a “deliberate action by Saudi Arabia”.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Gen Ahmed Asseri, said Iran’s claims would be investigated.

At least 2,795 civilians have been killed in Yemen since March, when the Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign to restore the government and drive back the Houthis and allied security personnel loyal to ex-President Saleh.

In the past six months, coalition and pro-government forces have retaken Aden, but the rebels still control the capital.

The already dire humanitarian situation has also deteriorated, with more than 21 million people – four-fifths of the population – now requiring aid.

-bbc


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