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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Saudi Arabia intercepts two missiles over Riyadh

The Houthis admitted to being behind the missile attack

The Houthis admitted to being behind the missile attacks on Riyadh. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters
The Houthis admitted to being behind the missile attacks on Riyadh. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s air defence intercepted on Wednesday above Riyadh two ballistic missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, Al Arabiya television reported.

“Loud booms were heard in more than one place in the capital, and up until now there is no official statement about where exactly the interception happened or where the debris has fallen,” added the report.

The Houthis admitted to being behind the missile attacks, claiming that they were aiming to strike "economic targets" in Riyadh.

"The missile force struck … economic targets in Riyadh with a salvo of ballistic missiles," the group's official channel Al Masirah TV reported.

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The spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, Turki Al Malki, said that air defence forces earlier had also intercepted a ballistic missile originating from Yemen and targeting the kingdom's southern city of Jizan. The rebels also claimed that attack via their Al Masirah TV.

Last week, the kingdom shot down two missiles heading towards the southern city of Najran.

A Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, intervened in the Yemen war in March 2015 to fight the rebels at the request of the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

The Houthis have repeatedly fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, which the United States and UN experts say are of Iranian origin, a claim Tehran denies.

The latest missile attacks come a day after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which he criticised for not including measures to curb Tehran's ballistic missile programme.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE welcomed Mr Trump's decision, and said that Iran was attempting to destabilise the region by developing ballistic missiles and supporting the rebels in Yemen.

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