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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Saudis shoot down another missile from Yemen rebels: state media

Attack on Najran launched as Houthis suffer heavy losses in Taez

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

Saudi air defences on Sunday intercepted another ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels at the kingdom's southern border city of Najran, as pro-government forces inflicted heavy losses on the rebels in south-west Yemen.

"Saudi forces were able to intercept [the missile]," the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

"But the shrapnel scattered over residential areas and caused a fire at a farm belonging to a citizen, without causing any injuries."

The missile was launched from Saada, the Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen, the coalition was cited as saying.

The coalition said another missile crashed in a Saudi desert on Sunday, without specifying a location, adding that it caused no damage.

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Meanwhile, pro-government troops backed by the UAE Armed Forces, a key member of the coalition, registered a fourth consecutive day of gains against the rebels in Taez province on the Red Sea coast.

The rapid advances in the direction of the port city of Mokha are significant steps towards breaking the rebel siege of Taez city 50 kilometres away, a source in the Yemeni National Resistance Forces told UAE state news agency Wam.

Led by Brig Gen Tarek Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni National Resistance Forces have been joined by thousands of Yemeni nationals in recent days and are being supported by the Southern Resistance and Tahami Movement as well as UAE Forces, Wam said.

The Houthi rebels have stepped up attacks on Saudi Arabia as their forces come under increasing pressure in Yemen, with Sunday's missile attacks the latest in a series of rebel bombardments of Saudi territory.

Saudi forces said they intercepted a rebel ballistic missile targeting kingdom's southern coastal city of Jazan on Friday, the second such strike in the area in over a week.

Earlier this month, Saudi forces said they intercepted rebel ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and the south of the kingdom, where two drones were also shot down.

Saudi Arabia has since March 2015 led a coalition of Arab states fighting to roll back the Houthis in Yemen and restore its neighbour's internationally recognised government to power.

Nearly 10,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In March, an Egyptian labourer became the first known fatality in a rebel missile attack on the Saudi capital.

Saudi Arabia accuses its arch-rival Iran of smuggling missiles to the Houthis – a charge Tehran denies.

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