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Wed 11 Apr 2018 07:05 PM

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Missile 'intercepted' in skies over Riyadh

Saudi Arabia also says it shot down two drones in another part of the country

Missile 'intercepted' in skies over Riyadh
A general view of Riyadh. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh and shot down two drones in another part of the country on Wednesday, in the latest attacks by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels showing improved military capabilities more than three years into the conflict.

Loud blasts were heard in the night sky above Riyadh. Two other missiles were intercepted over the southern areas of Jazan and Najran.

In a statement, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said it downed a drone targeting an airport in the southwestern province of Abha and another in Jazan.

The Houthis, in a statement carried by a news agency under their control, said the attack on Riyadh was directed at the defense ministry.

The Houthis have repeatedly targeted the kingdom in retaliation for its offensive inside Yemen. A missile fired in December was aimed at the main royal palace during a cabinet session headed by King Salman. Last month, Saudi defenses intercepted seven ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and other cities by the Houthis, the biggest such barrage since the war began in March 2015.

While Saudi Arabia and its allies have been able to recover areas in southern Yemen from the Houthis, the rebels still control the capital Sana’a and territories in the north. Saudi Arabia blames Iran for supplying projectiles for rebel missile attacks, a charge Tehran rejects.

The conflict has triggered a humanitarian disaster with thousands of civilian deaths, disease, hunger and displacement.