Saudis Deny Houthi Claims That They Launched Scud into Kingdom’s Territory

Washington, D.C.

Yemen’s pro-Houthi military proudly announced that it had launched a Scud missile at a base in Saudi Arabia, reports Yemeni state-run news outlet Saba.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense said no Scud missiles have been launched into its territory, refuting claims to the contrary by military units loyal to Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have joined the Houthis in fighting against armed groups who support Yemen’s President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The alleged Scud missile strike occurred on Monday night around the same time that a car bomb attack, claimed by the Sunni terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), targeted Shiite Houthi leaders at a funeral in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Citing the Houthi-run Defense Ministry, CNN reports that the explosion wounded 35 people, including women and children.

Although some media outlets report that the alleged missile attack was conducted on Tuesday, most of them indicate that the alleged attack occurred on Monday.

Hadi, the internationally recognized Yemeni president, was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia in March after the Houthis conquered Sanaa.

Since March, a Saudi-led Sunni coalition has been launching airstrikes in support of the armed groups fighting the Houthis and their allies on the ground.

Nevertheless, the Houthis continue to hold on to swathes of Yemen and have increased their artillery and rocket fire attacks into neighboring Saudi Arabia, which accuses Iran of providing military support to the Shiite group, allegations that the Islamic Republic denies.

“The rocket units in our heroic armed forces today launched a Scud missile at the Al Sulayyil missile base in Riyadh province … it comes as a response to the crimes of the brutal Saudi aggression,” said Brig. Gen. Sharaf Luqman, identified as a pro-Houthi military spokesman.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said that the base in question, located an estimated 435 miles southeast of the Saudi capital Riyadh, is secure, adding that no missile has struck it.

Earlier this month, Yemen’s pro-Houthi armed forces claimed they had struck their intended target with a Scud missile, notes Al-Araby Al-Jadeed , but the missile was shot down by the Saudis.

In claiming responsibility for the anti-Houthi attack via a statement posted online, ISIS said its intention was to strike a “Shiite nest” in Sanaa, reports France 24.

ISIS added that the area was targeted “out of revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates,” notes Al-Araby. “The extremist Sunni jihadist group considers Shiites as heretics and has frequently targeted them in attacks in several countries.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.