Saudi Arabia shot down a missile fired by Houthi rebels towards the capital of Riyadh on Tuesday, according to Saudi state television.
A loud boom was heard over Riyadh and a white smoke could be observed from a distance before Saudi-led coalition forces announced the missile had been intercepted, reports Bloomberg.
A spokesman for the Houthi movement said the Burkan 2H ballistic missile targeted Saudi Arabia’s al-Yamama palace, where Saudi leaders had gathered for a meeting.
Saudi officials did not directly confirm the Houthi account, but said Riyadh was the intended target.
“Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time,” the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on Twitter, according to Reuters.
The missile was the second such attack by the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels on Riyadh in six weeks. Houthi forces shot a ballistic missile on Nov. 4 at the Riyadh airport that was also knocked down by Saudi air defenses.
A coalition of Persian Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia is fighting against Houthi rebels who overthrew Yemen’s Saudi-friendly government in 2014. The war has turned into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises since the coalition began airstrikes the following year.
The U.S. provides logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi alliance, but President Donald Trump’s administration has recently criticized some of the coalition’s actions in Yemen, particularly a blockade of Yemeni ports that was implemented in response to the failed November strike.
The attempted missile strike on Tuesday comes days after U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley presented “irrefutable” evidence that Iran had provided weapons and ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels, in violation of a U.N. resolution. The Trump administration says Iranian support for the Houthis is part of Tehran’s destabilizing activity across the Middle East.
Iran has denied giving ballistic missiles to the Houthis.
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