Saudi Arabia: man killed in Riyadh by ballistic missile from Yemen

Saudi military says it intercepted and destroyed seven missiles fired by Houthi rebels

Huthi rebels in front of the residence of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa.
Houthi rebels in front of the residence of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa
(Image credit: Photo credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

One person has been killed and two others wounded in a ballistic missile attack on the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, on the third year anniversary of the conflict in Yemen.

A series of missiles, fired by Houthi rebels across the border in Yemen, were intercepted and destroyed by Saudi military installations on Sunday, defence officials said in a statement.

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Falling shrapnel killed an Egyptian national in Riyadh, the first death on Saudi soil since the kingdom and its regional allies intervened in the war in Yemen exactly three years ago.

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Missiles were also reportedly fired at airports in the southern Saudi cities of Abha, Jizan and Najran.

The multipronged attack represents “a sharp escalation” of the Houthi campaign that “seemed certain to provoke a furious Saudi response,” the Washington Post reports.

It’s the latest in a series of Houthi attacks against the kingdom. In December, Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile targeting King Salman’s Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

“These hostile acts continue to pose a direct threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and threaten regional, as well as international, security,” Saudi Colonel Turki Al Maliki said yesterday.

Muhammad al-Bukhaiti, a spokesman for the Houthis, told Al Jazeera that the attack was launched in “response to the bombing of Yemeni cities and siege of the Yemeni people”.

The Shiite militia has been attempting to take control of Yemen since 2004 and is by far the strongest rebel force in the country. Western and Saudi leaders allege that the group is receiving financial and military backing from Iran, a claim that’s denied by Tehran.

Since 2015, the Saudis have carried out more than 16,000 air raids in Yemen, resulting in “mass civilian casualties with weddings, hospitals and funerals targeted,” Al Jazeera reports.

In a televised address yesterday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi vowed to intensify attacks against its northern neighbour.

“In the fourth year of the war, we will use more developed and more diverse missile systems which will overcome all American and non-American air defence systems to target Saudi Arabia,” he said.

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