Saudi Arabia Intercepts Houthi Missiles Headed for Mecca, Embassy Says

The ballistic missiles, reportedly intercepted over Taif, were fired by Yemeni Houthi rebels and were headed for Islam's holiest city as well as Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea

A screenshot from a video purportedly showing Saudi missile defense systems intercepting incoming Houthi missiles.

Update: After missiles at Mecca, Houthis launch explosive drone at Saudi arms depot 

Saudi Arabia intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles fired from Yemen over Taif on Monday, Riyadh's embassy in Washington said. One of the missiles was heading for Mecca and the other for Jeddah, Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya cited eyewitnesses as saying. 

The kingdom's air defenses reportedly destroyed the missiles. 

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement denied the reports. "The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people," Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Facebook .

Al Arabiya reported that an official Saudi comment was expected later in the day. 

Yemen

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Last week, Saudi Arabia reported that Houthi explosive-laden drones struck two Saudi oil pumping stations. Citing a source in the group, Yemen's Houthi-controlled SABA news agency said Sunday that the targeting of these installations was the beginning of military operations against 300 vital military targets.

Other targets included military headquarters and facilities in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia as well as their bases in Yemen, SABA quoted the source as saying.

Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister accused Iran of ordering the attack on the Saudi oil pumping stations which Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militia claimed responsibility for

Last week, a state-aligned Saudi newspaper called for "surgical" U.S. strikes in retaliation against alleged threats from Iran. 

Gulf Infographic

The Arab News published an editorial in English, arguing that after incidents this week against Saudi energy targets, the next logical step "should be surgical strikes."

The editorial says U.S. airstrikes in Syria, when the government there was suspected of using chemical weapons against civilians, "set a precedent."

It added that it's "clear that [U.S.] sanctions are not sending the right message" and that Iran "must be hit hard," without elaborating on what specific targets should be struck.

The newspaper's publisher is the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, a company that had long been chaired by various sons of King Salman until 2014 and is regarded as reflecting official position. Turki bin Salman al Saud owns the group and is the brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman..