Coalition says 83 Houthi missiles fired towards Saudi since 2015

The latest attack was intercepted on Tuesday



Photo used for illustrative purposes only

Houthi militia forces have fired 83 ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia since the country entered the Yemen civil war in 2015, an official has said.

Coalition spokesperson colonel Turki al-Malik confirmed the figure following the latest attack on Tuesday that was intercepted over Riyadh.

Read: Saudi coalition intercepts missile fired towards Riyadh

The Houthi-backed Al Masirah television network said the missile was intended to hit a “meeting of the leadership of the Saudi regime in al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh” where the kingdom was preparing to announce its 2018 budget.

Saudi Arabia and the US say the missiles are being supplied by Iran in breach of international law.

US envoy to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, presented the wreckage of one of the missiles last week claimed to show the components were Iranian.

Haley said Tuesday’s attack “bears all the hallmarks of previous attacks using Iranian-provided weapons”.

In comments during a Wednesday press conference, Malik said the latest the attack proved “beyond any doubt the continued smuggling of weapons through the relief outlets and exploitation of these outlets”.

The kingdom previously used a November 4 missile attack that was fired towards Riyadh’s airport to justify a blockade of Yemen’s entry points, which it said were being used to ship Iranian arms.

However, the dire humanitarian situation in the country has placed the Saudi-coalition under international pressure to allow aid to get through.

Aid agencies have warned that about eight million people in the country are on the brink of famine with outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria. The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen had hit one million, with the wider war leaving more than 80 per cent of the population short of food, fuel, clean water and access to healthcare.

“Everyone knows that the Yemeni people are going through difficult economic and humanitarian conditions. International reports indicate that more than a third of the Yemeni people need urgent humanitarian assistance,” Malki said.

Saudi Arabia entered the Yemen civil war on the side of the internationally-recognised government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in 2015 to oppose the Iranian-backed Shia Houthi group and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh was killed in an attack on his convoy by Houthi forces earlier this month after switching to the coalition’s side, ending hopes of a swift end to the conflict.

Read: Slain Yemen ex-leader’s son calls for revenge

The coalition spokesperson indicated more than 85 per cent of Yemen was now under the control of the Hadi government.