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Saudi Arabia intercepts another Houthi missile fired towards Riyadh

By Reuters - Dec 20,2017 - Last updated at Dec 20,2017

RIYADH — Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the capital Riyadh on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said, the latest attack by a Yemeni group that could escalate a proxy war between the kingdom and regional rival Tehran.

There was no immediate report of casualties or damages.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement said the missile targeted the royal court at Al Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way, describing the attack as a new chapter in the conflict. 

The Saudi-led coalition said the missile was directed at residential areas and there were no damages, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported. 

Quoting a statement from the coalition, SPA said Iranian-made missiles were a threat to regional and international security, and accused the Houthis of using humanitarian entry points to import missiles from Saudi Arabia’s arch-foe Iran.

“Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting [the] south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time,” the government-run Centre for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.

Saudi palaces, military and oil facilities are within range of such missiles fired from Yemen, the Houthis said, according to a statement distributed via their television channel Al Masirah.

 

A blast, and then smoke 

 

Houthi missiles are often modified by reducing payloads and rarely hit their targets.

Reuters witnesses described hearing a blast and said they saw smoke in the north east of Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has described what Riyadh says is Iran’s supply of rockets to the Houthis as “direct military aggression” that could be an act of war.

Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, has denied supplying such weaponry to the Houthis who have taken over the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other parts of the country during its civil war.

Saudi Arabia said on November 4 it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport, an attack that stirred regional tensions and led the coalition to close Yemeni ports. 

On November 30 Saudi Arabia shot down another missile near the south-western city of Khamis Mushait. 

Last week, the United States presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Houthis, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating UN resolutions.

 

The arms included charred remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen in the on November 4 attack, as well as a drone and an anti-tank weapon recovered in Yemen by the Saudis. 

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