RIYADH: A missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group was intercepted over Saudi territory on Tuesday by Saudi air defenses, according to local media reports.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that a “ballistic missile” fired from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province — long considered a Houthi stronghold — had been shot down over the city of Jazan in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
Turki al-Malki, a spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition cobbled together in 2015 to fight the Houthis, condemned the attack, which he said had targeted a civilian area “in clear violation of international law”.
Later the same day, Houthi officials — speaking on Yemen’s Al-Masirah television channel — appeared to confirm the missile launch, which they said had been aimed at “military targets” inside Saudi territory.
Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a wide-ranging military campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen.
Riyadh has repeatedly accused the Houthis of acting as a proxy military force for Shia Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-foe in the region.