Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile launched 'toward Makkah'

Houthis confirm the launch of a Burkan-1 ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia but say it targeted King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Scuds have been launched at Saudi Arabia from Yemen several times, but have been shot down mostly by Patriot missiles supplied by the United States

Yemen's Houthi militia launched a ballistic missile toward Makkah on Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war said on Saudi state news agency SPA.

Coalition forces destroyed the missile 65 km (40 miles) from the holy city of Makkah without damage and retaliated against the launch site inside Yemen, the statement said.

Makkah is home to the most sacred sites in Islam, including the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque.

The Houthis confirmed the launch of a Burkan-1 ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia in a statement to their official news agency on Friday but said it targeted King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the kingdom's busiest airport.

Riyadh is leading a coalition of Arab states which began launching air strikes in Yemen 18 months ago to restore to power ousted President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, who was driven from the capital two years ago by the Houthis.

The Houthis, fighters from a Shia sect that ruled a thousand-year kingdom in northern Yemen until 1962, are allied to Hadi's predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.

They have the support of many army units and control most of the north including the capital Sanaa.


Saida Ahmad Baghili, an 18-year-old Yemeni woman from an impoverished coastal village on the outskirts of the rebel-held Yemeni port city of Hodeida, where malnutrition has hit the population hard, lies in a bed at the al-Thawra hospital in Hodeidah. (AFP)

The war has killed at least 10,000 people, displaced more than 3 million people and brought parts of Yemen, by far the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, to the brink of starvation.

Both sides accuse the other of war crimes.

The Saudis say the Houthis are backed by the kingdom's enemy Iran.

The Houthis say they have led a national revolt against a corrupt government, and the country is now being punished by its rich and aggressive Gulf Arab neighbors with US political and military support.

Scuds have been launched at Saudi Arabia from Yemen several times, but have been shot down mostly by Patriot missiles supplied by the United States.

The Houthis' ballistic missile attacks have increased after the Saudi Arabia-led coalition blitzed a crowded funeral ceremony in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on October 8, 2016.


A man stands by sheep killed by Saudi-led air strikes in Khamis Bani-Saad district of the western province of al-Mahweet, Yemen, October 27, 2016. (Reuters)

The air raid killed at least 140 people and wounded more than 500 people, including children. The Human Rights Watch called the attack an "apparent war crime."

An investigative body set up by the coalition said the strike was mistakenly carried out based on "false information" provided by "a party affiliated to the Yemeni Presidency of the General Chief of Staff."

Recently, ballistic missiles fired from a Houthi-held area in Yemen have targetted several maritime vessels and US warships in the Red Sea.

The Houthis deny that they — or their allies — had any connection to the missile attacks in the Red Sea. 

The US had struck several Houthi targets in retaliation to the attack on its Navy destroyer.

 

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies