Home Arab world Saudi Arabia says it shot down Houthi missiles over Riyadh

Saudi Arabia says it shot down Houthi missiles over Riyadh

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Newly recruited Houthi militants take part in a gathering in the capital Sanaa to mobilize more militants to battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities. (AFP)

By Middle East Affairs

Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down three ballistic missiles Wednesday that Yemen’s Houthis aimed at the cities of Riyadh, Jizan and Najran, Reuters reports.

According to the news agency, the Houthis said they were targeting the defense ministry in Riyadh and a Saudi Aramco distribution facility in Najran.

This is the fourth time in five months that Houthi missiles have targeted Riyadh, as the group amps up its threats that it can reach the Saudi capital for an attack. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

A man was killed last month in Riyadh by debris when the military shot down Houthi missiles, which was the first death in the Saudi capital caused by the Yemen war.

The Houthis say their attacks on the kingdom are in retaliation for Saudi Arabia’s air raids on Yemen. Saudi Arabia, among other Muslim states, began a coalition in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to hold off the Houthis after they cast out Yemen’s internationally-recognized government.

The coalition says it does not target civilians, but thousands of air strikes have hit schools, markets and hospitals.

The coalition accuses Iran of arming and supporting the Houthis, which both the group and country deny. However, arms monitor Conflict Armament Research said the drones used on Wednesday and were made in Iran, according to Reuters.

The Houthis said Wednesday’s attack was targeting an Aramco facility in Jizan, the news agency reported, but the company had said its facilities were operating “normally and safely.”

The company is building a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Jizan, Reuters said, which is part of a new economic city on the Red Sea and should become fully operational in 2019.