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'Saudi Arabia intercepts Yemen rebel missiles targeting cities'

By AFP - Feb 22,2020 - Last updated at Feb 22,2020

In this file photo taken on September 06, 2016, Yemeni female fighters supporting the Shiite Houthi rebels holds weapons as they take part in an anti-Saudi rally in the capital Sanaa (AFP photo)

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has intercepted missiles fired towards its cities by Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, the Riyadh-led military coalition said, in the insurgents' latest cross-border attack.

A Houthi spokesman quoted by the rebels' Al Masirah TV said Friday the group had targeted oil installations in the kingdom with 12 Sammad-3 drones, two cruise missiles and a ballistic missile. 

The Saudi-led coalition said the projectiles "were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of international humanitarian law".

Yemen's capital Sanaa "has become a Houthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the kingdom," said coalition spokesman Turki Al Maliki, in a statement released Thursday by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The Houthi spokesman said an attack targeted Saudi oil giant Aramco's facilities in Yanbu, north of Jeddah in the west of the kingdom, and stressed that the targets "were hit with precision".

He promised further attacks against Saudi Arabia in "case of continued aggression and economic blockade".

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, a charge Tehran denies.

The US on Wednesday also accused Tehran of delivering weapons to the rebels, citing arms it said it had intercepted, days after the Houthis claimed to have shot down a Saudi jet with an "advanced surface-to-air missile".

The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territories in and around Aden.

Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.

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