Saudi Arabia intercepts second Yemen missile in a month
The Houthi rebels had earlier warned that they considered “airports, ports, border crossings and areas of any importance” in Saudi Arabia and the UAE “legitimate targets”.world Updated: Dec 01, 2017 16:11 IST
Saudi Arabia on Thursday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired from war-torn Yemen, state media reported, the second such attack this month claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The missile targeted the southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait, with authorities reporting no casualties, just hours after the rebels threatened to retaliate over a crippling blockade on Yemen.
A Saudi-led coalition against the rebels imposed the blockade, which the UN warns is deepening Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, in response to a Houthi missile that was intercepted near Riyadh airport on November 4.
The missile attacks, which could further escalate the coalition’s military campaign, underscore how the raging Yemen conflict is increasingly spilling across the border, threatening Saudi towns and villages.
The Houthi-run Al-Masira television channel said Thursday’s missile hit a military target inside Saudi Arabia, but the coalition contradicted that claim.
“The missile heading towards the city of Khamis Mushait was intercepted and destroyed without any casualties,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki as saying.
Hours earlier rebel chief Abdulmalik al-Huthi threatened to retaliate if the blockade was prolonged.
“Should the blockade continue, we know what (targets) would cause great pain and how to reach them,” he said in a speech broadcast on Al-Masira.
The Houthi rebels this month warned that they considered “airports, ports, border crossings and areas of any importance” in Saudi Arabia, as well as its ally the United Arab Emirates, legitimate targets.
The coalition, which accuses the rebels of being a proxy for regional nemesis Iran, justifies the blockade saying it is meant to stop the flow of arms to the rebels from Tehran.
Earlier this month Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said arming Yemen’s Houthis could be considered an “act of war”, provoking a heated war of words with Tehran.
Iran denies it is supplying the Houthis with arms.