Saudi-led coalition says it thwarted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

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The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi group said on Saturday it had thwarted a ballistic missile attack by the Houthis on the Saudi capital Riyadh, and destroyed six armed drones launched towards cities in the kingdom’s south, reported Reuters.

Six drones aimed at targeting “civilians and civilian objects” were launched towards Jazan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said in a statement carried on Saudi state media.

The Iranian-aligned Houthis subsequently said they had deployed a ballistic missile and nine drones at “sensitive targets” in Riyadh and six drones at military sites in Abha and Khamis Mushait.

Debris from the intercepted missile caused material damage to one house in Riyadh but there were no injuries or deaths, the kingdom’s general directorate of civil defence said in a statement carried on state news agency SPA.

Yemen has been wracked by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015, aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises with nearly 80 per cent or about 30 million of its people needing humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million in danger of starving to death. As a response to the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthi movement, which controls northern Yemen, has recently stepped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, a militia official told AP that three drones were launched from Iraqi-Saudi border areas by a relatively unknown Iran-backed faction in Iraq, and crashed into Riyadh’s royal complex on 23 January.

Read: Drone attack on Saudi royal palace launched from Iraq

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