Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted a salvo of missiles fired by Houthi rebels at Riyadh on Wednesday, Saudi officials said.
At least four blasts were heard in the Saudi capital, but there were no immediate reports of possible casualties or damage, reported Reuters. All of the missiles were shot down in the skies above Riyadh, according to Saudi officials.
Separately, Saudi state media announced that air defenses had intercepted a missile launched at the southern city of Jizan. The Iran-aligned Houthi movement claimed responsibility for both attacks, saying they were revenge for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen.
The missile launches marked a “new phase” in the war between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels in Yemen, a spokesman for the Houthi-aligned military Colonel Aziz Rashed said.
“There will be more salvos until this enemy is deterred, understands the meaning of the Yemeni threat and ceases its crimes,” the spokesman told al-Masirah TV, the Houthis’ official news agency.
Wednesday’s missile attack comes a day after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, a move that was celebrated by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states. The decision was not directly related to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis, but it has been widely seen in the region as a show of U.S. support for Riyadh against its arch-nemesis, Tehran.
The Saudi-led military coalition has been battling the Houthis since 2015, after the rebel group ousted Yemen’s Riyadh-allied government. Since then, the coalition, with U.S. logistics and intelligence support, has waged a brutal bombing campaign against Houthi positions in Yemen, prompting retaliatory ballistic missile attacks against targets inside Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies have accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with weapons, particularly the ballistic missiles used in several recent attacks against Saudi targets. In its list of requirements for a revised Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration demanded Tehran “cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis.”
Both Iran and the Houthis have repeatedly denied Tehran is arming the group.
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