Saudi Arabia says it intercepts Yemen rebel drones, missiles
June 23, 2020 - Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement says it launched a “large-scale” missile and drone attack against targets deep in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom said it blocked the assault.
The Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the group for five years said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis towards Riyadh. There was no immediate confirmation by the coalition or Saudi authorities about specific targets, Reuters said
A Reuters witness in the capital heard two loud blasts and saw billows of smoke in the sky over Riyadh close to dawn. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
“A large number of winged ballistic missiles and drones targeted the capital of the Saudi enemy ... pounding military headquarters and centres including the defence and intelligence ministry and (King) Salman Air Base,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech.
He said attacks were also launched against military sites in the southern Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan that border Yemen.
Violence between the two sides has surged after the expiry last month of a six-week ceasefire prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The coalition has responded to cross-border Houthi missile and drone attacks with air strikes.
Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement that the Houthi attack on Riyadh was a “deliberate hostile action designed to target civilians”.
He did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on the Houthi report that the attack had struck the defence ministry and air base.
In a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA, Malki said the coalition on Tuesday intercepted three missiles fired towards Najran and Jizan, and several armed drones launched towards the kingdom late on Monday.