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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile fired at Jazan

Southern Saudi city has been targeted repeatedly in the past two weeks

Colonel Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen, has said debris from intercepted missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels showed that they were provided by Iran. Amr Nabil / AP Photo
Colonel Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen, has said debris from intercepted missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels showed that they were provided by Iran. Amr Nabil / AP Photo

Saudi air defences on Friday intercepted a ballistic missile fired at Jazan by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The thwarted attack, the latest in a series of attempted missile strikes on the southern coastal city, was announced by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels.

"The missile has been launched premeditatedly against populated areas, but the Royal Saudi Force managed to intercept it," said Col Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the coalition.

He said residential areas were hit by fragments of the missile but no damage or injuries reported.

The Houthis, in a statement on their news outlet Al Masirah, claimed that they fired a Badr 1 ballistic missile and said it struck the Jazan Regional Airport.

However, open-source flight information monitored by Agence France-Presse showed flights arriving and departing from the airport on schedule.

The Iran-backed Houthis fired three missiles at Jazan last week, all of which were intercepted by Saudi air defences.

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The rebels have stepped their missile attacks in recent months as they come under increasing pressure from offensives by the Yemeni military and pro-government militias, backed by the coalition.

Falling debris from intercepted missiles killed an Egyptian labourer in the Saudi capital Riyadh in March.

Investigations by the coalition, the United States and the United Nations have shown that the rebels are using weapons supplied by Iran. Iran denies arming the rebels.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the war in March 2015 at the request of Yemen's internationally recognised government after the rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and other ares of the country.