Dubai: Saudi Arabia air defences intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi movement over the southern city of Jazan, the Saudi-led coalition said on Monday.
Earlier, the Houthis said the group had fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at Jazan’s airport, without giving any further details. The Houthis, an Iran-allied group that holds much of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa, have fired a series of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
A US-backed military alliance intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to fight against the Houthis on behalf of the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh. Iran and the Houthis dismiss Saudi accusations that Tehran arms the group.
Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said Saudi air defence forces destroyed the missile over Jazan and accused the Houthis of targeting residential areas, according to a report from the official Saudi Press Agency. According to Colonel al-Malki, the interception took place at 6.14pm Riyadh time (3.14pm GMT).
“The Saudi Royal Air Defence Forces spotted another missile that landed in an uninhabited desert. Thankfully there were no reports of any damage until the time this statement was issued.” Colonel al-Malki blamed “Houthi terrorist groups” for the incident.
The Houthis have fired a salvo of missiles at Saudi Arabia in recent months, including the capital, Riyadh, while the coalition launched thousands of air strikes against Houthi-held areas, killing hundreds of civilians at hospitals, schools and markets.