Saudi air defence forces intercept missile from Yemen

Saudi-led military coalition intend to maintain truce although a ballistic missile was intercepted from Yemen.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Armed Yemeni tribesmen fire as they hold a position in the area of Sirwah, west of Marib city, on December 18, 2015

Saudi air defence forces, on Monday, intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, but a Saudi-led military coalition will maintain a shaky truce despite this "serious escalation" by the Houthi militia, the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

The Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen's Saudi-backed exile government are trying to reach a peace agreement in talks in Kuwait aimed at ending the year-long war and easing a humanitarian crisis in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country.

"The coalition announces that it will continue to maintain the cessation of hostilities," the coalition said, according to SPA, reiterating that it retained the right to respond as appropriate.

The statement gave no other details about the missile or the target, other than saying it was destroyed without causing any damage. Similar incidents have occurred periodically over the past months.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen a year ago mainly with air strikes in support of Yemeni forces.

It ended a previous ceasefire in January saying that its enemies had fired missiles targeting its border posts and shelled civilian areas where the Houthis were fighting pro-Saudi Yemeni forces.

The war has killed more than 6,200 people and displaced some 2.5 million others.

This tentative UN-backed ceasefire has been in place since last month to give the peace talks in Kuwait a chance at progress. Both sides have regularly accused each other of violations.

On Monday, representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthis met in Kuwait and a UN special envoy urged them to make more progress.

"There is no doubt that we are at a true crossroads. We are either moving towards peace or going back to square one," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the special envoy, said in a statement.

"What I heard from both delegations is promising, but we shouldn't forget that the challenges are enormous and the gap between them is large," he said.

TRTWorld, Reuters