Saudi forces intercept missiles fired from Yemen

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo and AFP


Saudi soldiers and police on Sunday night (March 25th) inspect an area of Riyadh where shrapnel from one of seven missiles fired from Yemeni territory by the Houthis landed. [Photo circulated on social media]

Saudi forces on Sunday night (March 25th) announced they had intercepted seven missiles fired into the kingdom from Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah).

An Egyptian civilian was killed by falling shrapnel in Riyadh, while two others, also Egyptian nationals, were wounded in the attack, Saudi authorities said.

The Houthis confirmed they had launched the attack via Al-Masirah television, with Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport among the stated targets.

Three missiles were directed at Riyadh, one at Khamis Mushayt, one at Najran and two at Jazan, and all were intercepted by the Saudi Royal Air Defence Forces, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The attacks came just ahead of the third anniversary of Yemen's war.

Thousands of supporters of the Houthis flooded the streets of Sanaa on Monday, with some carrying posters bearing pictures of Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi.

Speakers blasted out a fiery speech from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hizbullah and an ally of the Houthis.

Iranian support condemned

"This aggressive and hostile action by the Iran-backed Houthi group proves that the Iranian regime continues to support the armed group with military capabilities," said Arab coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki.

Britain on Monday urged Iran to "stop sending in weapons which prolong the conflict, fuel regional tensions, and pose threats to international peace and security".

Meanwhile, the legitimate government of Yemeni president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Monday released a statement calling the attacks on Saudi Arabia "an open rejection of peace".

"The new shelling reflects the criminality of the Houthis, who are funded by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)," Lt. Col. Jamal al-Nukhaifi of the Saudi police told Al-Mashareq.

The seven missiles were destroyed in the sky by an anti-missile system, he said, adding that the man who died in Riyadh was an Egyptian migrant worker who was hit by shrapnel which fell on the house where he was living.

Two others who were with him, also Egyptian nationals, were taken to hospital for treatment by the Saudi civil defence, he added.

The attack generated an immediate popular response on social media, with photos and videos of the shelling sparking widespread condemnation and calls for military activity against Yemen's Houthis to continue, al-Nukhaifi said.

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You can’t subdue a group of Houthi rebels although you have America and trillions of dollars and lead an Arab-Islamic alliance against them! See how Turkey has dealt with the Kurds, entered Afrin and ended their dreams. Until when will you continue to intercept the missiles that have intimidated you?! Find a solution: either to make peace with them or enter their strongholds and put an end to those missiles.