Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missiles

Saul Bowman
April 12, 2018

Loud blasts were heard in the night sky above Riyadh.

Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya TV confirmed Saudi Arabia had been forced to intercept a ballistic missile launched by Yemen's Houthis towards the southern city of Jizan.

The missiles followed the downing of two Houthi drones earlier on Wednesday in Jizan and the nearby Saudi city of Abha, the coalition said.

Saudi officials said flights were temporarily suspended at Abha airport in line with safety procedures.

The strikes by the rebels in neighbouring Yemen came just days before Saudi Arabia is to host heads of state and dignitaries for the annual Arab League summit, which will be held this year in the eastern Saudi city of Dammam. At least one Saudi media outlet reported a drone crash at the airport had injured two airport workers.

In this January 2015 photo, Houthi fighters patrol a road in Yemen's capital Sana'a. He has previously warned that Saudi Arabia reserves the right to respond against Iran.

One of the drones was targeting the Abha worldwide airport in Asir province, which led to a temporary suspension of air traffic, and a second was approaching a "civilian object" in Jizan province, Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Qasef 1 is a drone aircraft previously unveiled by the militant rebel group.

The Houthis claimed to have targeted the defence ministry in Riyadh and a Saudi Aramco distribution facility in Najran.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for supplying projectiles for rebel missile attacks, a charge Teheran rejects.

Wednesday's attack was the fourth of its kind on Riyadh in five months.

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