Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis Target Saudi Capital With Ballistic Missiles and Drones

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Iran-backed group says it intercepted ballistic missile fired by the Houthis towards Riyadh

Reuters
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019Credit: Mandel Ngan,AP
Reuters

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group used ballistic missiles and drones in an attack on Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Tuesday, targeting the defence ministry and a military base, the movement's military spokesman said in a televised speech.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the group for five years said it had intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis towards Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Tuesday. 

There was no immediate confirmation by the coalition or Saudi authorities that the defence ministry or King Salman Air Force Base had been targeted as stated by the Houthi spokesman.A Reuters witness in Riyadh heard two loud blasts and saw billows of smoke in the sky over the city close to dawn.

Violence between the two sides has surged after the expiry last month of a six-week ceasefire prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Houthis launching missiles and drones towards Saudi cities and the coalition responding with air strikes.

Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels at a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen, February 25, 2020.
Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels at a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen, February 25, 2020.Credit: Hani Mohammed,AP

Al Masirah said the Houthi's military spokesman would make an announcement in the next few hours.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said its forces had intercepted and destroyed a Houthi missile launched at Riyadh in a "deliberate hostile action designed to target civilians".

In a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA, he said the coalition had intercepted on Tuesday three Houthi missiles fired towards the southern border cities of Najran and Jizan, as well as several armed drones launched towards the kingdom late on Monday.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014. The conflict is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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