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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Saudi intercepts a Houthi missile over Riyadh   

Two drones were shot down by air defence forces in the south 

A photo distributed by the Houthi Military Media Unit shows the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Saudi Arabia March 25, 2018. Reuters
A photo distributed by the Houthi Military Media Unit shows the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Saudi Arabia March 25, 2018. Reuters

Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh and shot down two drones in another part of the country on Wednesday, in the latest attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Loud blasts were heard in the sky above Riyadh, while two other missiles were intercepted over the southern areas of Jizan and Najran.

In a statement, the Saudi-led coalition said it intercepted a drone targeting an airport in the southwestern province of Abha, which led to a temporary suspension of air traffic, and another in which was approaching a "civilian object" in Jizan province.

The Houthis, in a statement carried by a news agency under their control, said the attack on Riyadh was directed at the defence ministry.

In recent months, the rebels launched missiles aimed at Riyadh, and dozens have been fired at southern Saudi cities that border Yemen.

Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday that operations were running smoothly following an alleged Houthi strike on a facility belonging to the oil giant.

The Houthis said they launched a drone attack on an Aramco facility in southern Saudi Arabia - though the company said its plants there were operating "normally and safely".

The rebel-run Al Masirah TV channel did not say when the attack took place or give details of any damage.

"The air force announced the execution of air strikes with the Qasef-1 aircraft on Aramco in Jizan (province)," the channel said on its Twitter account, referring to a drone the Houthis unveiled last year.

Saudi Aramco operates a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Jizan, part of a new economic city on the Red Sea.

The Iran-backed rebels have repeatedly launched ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, which has intercepted them all.

The arms monitor Conflict Armament Research (CAR) said it has evidence showing the Qasef-1 and other Houthi kit was made in Iran and was not of indigenous design and construction "in contrast to Houthi statements".

The Saudi-led coalition – which includes the UAE – intervened in the Yemen war in 2015 at the request of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

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