Saudi Arabia says it intercepts ballistic missile fired from Yemen

Wednesday, 27 Dec, 2017

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels said it intercepted a missile fired over southern Riyadh on Tuesday, while the Yemeni rebels said they targeted the royal palace in the kingdom's capital.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling rebels in Yemen since March 2015 and has repeatedly accused Iran of backing its co-religionists.

The king also briefed Mr. Trump on Saudi Arabia's plan to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen which borders Saudi Arabia has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced over two million.

Quoting a statement from the coalition, Saudi state news agency SPA said Iranian-made missiles were a threat to regional and worldwide security.

The Houthis for their part have fired several missiles at the kingdom, mostly in the south since 2015, but had not caused any serious damage, in their bid to pressure Saudi Arabia, a strategic United States ally and the world's biggest oil exporter.

"The enemies had their own mirage calculations. but over 1,000 days, there has been this great steadfastness", said Sayyed Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, a Houthi leader, in a speech on the group's Al-Masirah TV. "There are no reported casualties at this time", the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.

Witnesses described hearing a blast and seeing a huge plume of smoke over the Saudi capital as the missile was shot out of the sky. "Targeting of cities with ballistic missiles is a clear evidence of the continued acts of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias of using humanitarian entry points to smuggling Iranian missiles to the Yemeni territories in flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions", he added.

However, Tehran strongly denied that it had supplied weapons to Yemeni rebels which they used in attacks on its archfoe Saudi Arabia as alleged by both Riyadh and Washington.

The audacious attack aimed at the heart of Saudi power follows the downing of another missile last month near Riyadh airport that triggered the tightening of a Saudi-led blockade on hunger-stricken Yemen.

The projectile was intercepted by Riyadh's Patriot anti-missile system but Saudi Arabia has raised serious concerns after civilian areas are being targeted by the Iran-backed Houthis.