Riyadh: Saudi air defences shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi group towards Riyadh on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday, in an attack that could escalate a proxy war between the kingdom and Iran.
There were no reports of casualties or damage. In contrast, a U.N. human rights spokesman said coalition air strikes had killed at least 136 non-combatants in wartorn Yemen since December 6.
The Iran-aligned Houthi movement said it had aimed the missile at the Saudi royal court at al-Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way. It described the attack as a new chapter in the conflict.
The Saudi-led coalition said the missile, the latest of several fired towards Riyadh, had been directed at residential areas and there had been no damage.
Quoting a statement from the coalition, Saudi state news agency SPA said Iranian-made missiles were a threat to regional and international security. It accused the Houthis of using humanitarian entry points into Yemen to smuggle in missiles from Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-foe Iran.
“Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time,” the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.
Saudi palaces, military and oil facilities are within range of such missiles, the Houthis said in a statement carried by the group’s Al-Masirah television.
In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said the United States was aware of the reported missile attack.
“We are working closely with our Saudi partners … to ensure that our Saudi partners have the resources they need to defend their territory against indiscriminate attacks against civilian-inhabited areas,” he said. (Agencies)