Saudi intercepts missiles over Riyadh

Yemen’s Houthis have targeted Riyadh several times with missiles



Saudi authorities said air defences intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh on Wednesday after four loud booms were heard in the capital.

Reuters cited witnesses as confirming the sounds, which came a day after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, in part due to concerns the pact did not address Tehran’s ballistic missile programme or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

A spokesman for the Houthi-aligned military colonel Aziz Rashed told al-Masirah TV channel that the attack on the capital and another area marked “a new phase” and was revenge for Saudi air strikes on Yemen.

“There will be more salvos until this enemy is deterred, understands the meaning of the Yemeni threat and ceases its crimes,” Rashed said.

Saudi coalition spokesperson colonel Turki al-Maliki said a missile fired from Yemeni territory north of Amran was intercepted at 11:25am. A second missile landed 100km south of Riyadh in unpopulated desert, according to the official.

“No damage was caused, thankfully, until the time this statement was issued,” according to the statement.

He later said in a separate statement that the Houthis had “failed to launch a short-range Badr-type rocket” towards the Saudi province of Najran but it fell in a non populated desert area.

Al-Maliki previously announced the interception of another missile fired at 7:18am on Wednesday morning from Saada governorate towards the southern city of Jizan. He said that attack also deliberately targeted civilian areas but there were no reports of casualties.

The Houthis have stepped up missile attacks on the neighbouring kingdom in what they say is retaliation for air raids by a Saudi-led coalition fighting them in Yemen.

Two further projectiles were intercepted after being fired towards the southern city of Najran on Sunday evening.

The previous week, on April 28, Saudi air defences intercepted five missiles fired from Yemen following a coalition air strike reportedly targeting Houthi leaders at Interior Ministry in Sanaa.

Read: Saudi intercepts five missiles following air strike on Houthi leaders

In the days prior, two missiles were fired at facilities of oil giant Saudi Aramco and another towards Najran.

Read: Saudi intercepts missiles fired at Aramco facility

The kingdom suffered its first casualty from a missile attack in March when an Egyptian resident of Riyadh was hit by debris from three missiles targeting the capital as part of a wider attack also aimed at Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait.

Read: UN Security Council condemns Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and Arab partners including the UAE entered Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthi movement seized large areas of the country including the capital Sana’a.

The Saudi coalition said last month that 119 rockets and 6,6259 projectiles had been fired across the border into the kingdom as of April 16.

Saudi Civil Defence will test a warning siren in Riyadh and other provinces on Thursday. It has instructed citizens upon hearing the alert to seek shelter in secure locations and avoid “areas prone to air strikes and missile strikes”.

With contributions from Reuters