International

Houthi missile attack thwarted, says Riyadh

Mohamed Fahim inspects his house that was damaged by an intercepted missile in the aftermath of what Saudi-led coalition said was a thwarted Houthi missile attack, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 28, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Loud explosions shook Riyadh on Saturday as a Saudi-led military coalition said it thwarted a missile attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which sent debris raining down on civilian homes.

The Iran-backed Houthis have escalated attacks on the kingdom, while they step up an offensive to seize the Saudi-backed Yemeni government’s last northern stronghold of Marib.

The Saudi-led coalition said it intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile targeting Riyadh, according to the official SPA news agency.

Fragments of the missile scattered over several Riyadh neighbourhoods, damaging at least one home but no casualties were reported, state-run Al-Ekhbariya television said.

AFP correspondents in the Saudi capital reported hearing multiple loud explosions. The night sky lit up with a bright flash following the interception of a missile, state television footage showed.

Separately, the coalition said it intercepted six Houthi drones targeting the kingdom, including the southern cities of Khamis Mushait and Jizan.

The rebels did not immediately claim responsibility for any of the attacks. They frequently strike southern areas and have previously targeted Riyadh with missiles and drones.

The assaults came as Saudi Arabia hosted a Formula E championship on the outskirts of Riyadh, which state media said was attended by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Houthis have escalated cross-border attacks on the kingdom even after the United States delisted the rebels as terrorists and stepped up efforts to de-escalate the six-year conflict.

The designation, imposed by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, had been widely criticised by aid organisations, who warned it would hamper their efforts to alleviate a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:11:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/saudi-led-coalition-says-it-thwarted-houthi-missile-attack-on-riyadh-state-tv/article33952475.ece

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