Saudis Shoot Down Scud Missile Fired from Yemen

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Saudi Arabia’s air force intercepted a Scud missile launched from Yemen Saturday night, according to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Yemeni rebels known as Houthis and their allies.

The coalition, in a statement carried by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said the ballistic missile was fired from the Yemeni capital Sanaa toward the southwestern Saudi city of Narjan before it was shot down by Patriot missiles.

“Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted at about 11 P.M. (2000 GMT) yesterday a Scud missile launched from Sanaa, in Yemeni territory, toward the city of Najran… the air force immediately destroyed the rocket launch platform,” the Saudi statement said, according to Reuters.

Shiite Houthi rebels have controlled Sanaa since September 2014.

Arab News quoted the statement as saying that the “coalition jets immediately launched retaliatory strikes and have neutralized the missile launch base within Yemeni territory.”

Yemen’s state news agency in Sanaa said that the target was a Saudi National Guard base in Najran on Yemen’s northwest border with Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera reports.

“The attack is the latest of several ballistic missile strikes by Yemeni forces on Saudi Arabia, none of which have caused any reported casualties,” notes Arab News.

Nevertheless, the Associated Press, citing Lt. Col. Ali al-Shahrani, spokesman for civil defense forces, reported earlier this month that a missile fired from Yemen struck Najran, killing three civilians.

Others were reportedly injured in the attack.

“Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in the forefront of a military alliance of Arab states which have launched an air, sea and land offensive since March against rebels trying to topple the UN-recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi,” notes Arab News.

Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have joined forces with armed units loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, against the coalition-backed Hadi government.

“The conflict has killed nearly 6,000 people and plunged the impoverished country into a humanitarian crisis, but a cease-fire coinciding with United Nations-backed talks began on Dec. 15,” reports Arab News. “Though both sides have accused each other of many violations.”

The Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis and their allies is backed by the United States.


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