Saudi Arabia ‘intercepts missile’ close to capital

Strike believed to be launched from Yemen in week coalition bomb killed 26 in region

 A vehicle drives past the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. File photograph: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

A vehicle drives past the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. File photograph: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

 

Saudi Arabia’s air defence intercepted a missile, fired from Yemen, close to the capital Riyadh on Saturday, al-Arabiya TV reported.

State-owned al-Ekhbariya TV said it was brought down north of King Khaled Airport and there were no casualties reported.

The Houthi-controlled Saba news agency reported that Yemen had fired the missile at the airport about 35km outside Riyadh.

Residents in the capital said they heard a loud bang.

This attack marks a significant escalation in the conflict in Yemen which Saudi Arabia and its allies have been mired in since 2015. The Saudi-led intervention was aimed at backing an internationally-recognised government against pro-Iranian Shia rebels. The kingdom says the Houthi rebels are armed and backed by regional rival Iran.

Earlier on Saturday, a Saudi-led military coalition said an air strike that hit a market in Yemen’s northern Saadah province was a legitimate military target. On Wednesday, medics and a Reuters witness said an air strike carried out by the coalition killed 26 people at a hotel and an adjoining market.

The attack, which struck the Sahar district of the vast territory that borders Saudi Arabia, demolished the budget hotel and reduced market stalls outside to a heap of twisted sheet metal.

The coalition statement reviewed the incident and quoted its spokesman as saying the target was the gathering point for some armed Houthi militants.

The military alliance led by Saudi Arabia has launched thousands of air strikes against Yemen’s armed Houthi movement, which hails from Saadah and now controls much of the country.

– Reuters/Bloomberg