Saudi jets have ‘deliberately’ bombed the Iranian embassy in Yemen in an air raid that wounded staff, Tehran has claimed today.
Warplanes struck the building as they pounded Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Wednesday night, Iran claimed, as tensions with Saudi Arabia continued to mount.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman described the strike as a ‘deliberate action’ and a ‘violation of all international conventions that protect diplomatic missions’.
Hossein Jaber Ansari said: ‘The Saudi government is responsible for the damage caused and for the situation of members of staff who were injured.’
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen will investigate the accusation, according to the group’s spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said.
Coalition jets carried out heavy strikes in Sanaa on Wednesday night to target missile launchers used by the Houthi militia to fire at Saudi Arabia, he said, adding that the group has used civilian facilities including abandoned embassies.
Asseri said the coalition had requested all countries to supply it with coordinates of the location of their diplomatic missions and that accusations made on the basis of information provided by the Houthis ‘have no credibility’.
But witnesses in Sanaa said they could see no damage at the Iranian Embassy and that it was still standing.
The neighborhood in Yemen’s capital has been struck before as it is home to several strategic sites.
Often at loggerheads over regional issues, a full-blown split between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran erupted at the weekend when Riyadh executed prominent Shiite cleric and activist Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 others.
Nimr’s death sparked demonstrations in many countries including Iran, where protesters stormed and set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran as well as the kingdom’s consulate in second city Mashhad.
Riyadh cut ties with Tehran in response and was joined by some of its Sunni Arab allies including Bahrain and Sudan. The United Arab Emirates also downgraded relations with Iran while Kuwait and Qatar recalled their ambassadors.
A Saudi-led coalition has waged an air war on Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since March and the impoverished nation’s conflict is one of the main sources of dispute between the two regional adversaries.
Also on Thursday, Iran banned all products from Saudi Arabia and said a ban on Iranians travelling to the Saudi holy city of Mecca for the umrah pilgrimage would remain in place ‘until further notice’.
‘The cabinet has banned the entry of all Saudi products and products from Saudi Arabia,’ a government statement said.
It comes as 65 people were killed today when one of Libya’s worst truck bombs in years exploded at a police training centre in the town of Zliten.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack today, but the bombing was one of the deadliest since Islamist militants started expanding their presence in the chaos that followed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Mayor Miftah Hamadi said the bomb detonated as recruits were gathering at the police centre in Zliten, a coastal town between the capital Tripoli and the port of Misrata.
Witnesses said residents were ferrying victims to Misrata hospitals in ambulances and cars, many with shrapnel wounds.
Medical sources said 65 people had been killed, including some civilians, though one official said between 50 and 60 had died.