Saudi Arabia has denied that it aimed air strikes at the home of Oman’s ambassador to Yemen as part of its raids in Sana’a against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels.
The clarification comes after Oman’s foreign ministry released a statement condemning the attack, showing a rare sign of discord among the members of Gulf Cooperation Council.
“Oman received with deep regret yesterday’s news targeting the ambassador’s home in Sana’a, which is a clear violation of international charters and norms that emphasize the inviolability of diplomatic premises,” a statement released on Saturday said.
Following that, the Sultanate also summoned Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Oman on Saturday to demand an explanation about the incident, media reported.
But in a statement to Saudi daily Al Sharq Al Awsat, Brigadier General Ahmad Asiri said that the attack was carried out by the Houthi rebels and not by coalition forces. He added that a close examination of the site would prove whether the house was hit by a mortar shell or a warplane.
Saudi-led forces have intensified air raids on Sana’a over the last few days in a bid to recapture the city from the rebels.
The Omani envoy’s house came under fire on Friday morning. The raids were mainly targeted at the Interior Ministry headquarters in Sana’a which Saudi officials claim was used by Houthis as a military base.
Although Gulf Arab countries have increasingly taken an active military role in the region’s conflicts, Oman have largely remained neutral. The country has also hosted talks between the Houthi rebels and Yemen’s exiled president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to solve the ongoing political deadlock in Yemen.
The country’s current ruler Sultan Qaboos has also played a substantial role as a mediator while helping negotiate the release of hostages in conflict-ridden areas.
On Sunday, Oman reportedly helped broker the release of two US citizens and a Briton who were held captive by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Two Saudi citizens were also released from the custody of the rebels but the grounds of their detention were not clear.