Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, saying the projectile traveled more than 800km into the kingdom on Wednesday.
Al Masirah, a TV network run by the Houthis, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying the rebels fired a Burkan 2-H, a Scud-type missile, towards the Saudi defence ministry.
Videos published on social media showed clouds of smoke in the sky above the capital.
Sharaf Lokman, a spokesman for the Houthis, said the attack came after Saleh al-Samad – president of the Supreme Political Council that runs Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other rebel-held areas – declared the start of “a year of ballistic missiles”.
Al Masirah also reported the Houthis fired missiles at oil storage facilities belonging to Saudi oil giant Aramco in the provinces of Najran and Jizan.
Meanwhile, the Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said its air defences shot down two unmanned drones in the south of the country.
The Houthis said they targeted southern areas of Saudi Arabia with Qasif-1 drones.
The kingdom accuses Iran of supplying missile parts and expertise to the Houthis. Tehran and the Houthis have repeatedly denied the allegations.
According to Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the Qasif-1 drone is said to resemble Iran’s Ababil-2 drone and is the latest in a line of weapons Tehran has allegedly sent the Houthis.
Despite its relatively simple technology, the Qasif-1 carries a 30kg warhead and has allowed the Houthis to target vessels in the strategic Bab Al Mandeb Strait.
The war in Yemen, the region’s poorest country, started in 2014 after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital and began pushing south towards the country’s third-biggest city Aden.
Concerned by the rise of the Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states launched a military intervention in 2015 in the form of a massive air campaign aimed at reinstalling the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed and at least 40,000 wounded, mostly from Saudi-led air strikes.
In retaliation, the Houthis have launched dozens of missiles at the kingdom. Saudi authorities say over the past three years 90 ballistic missiles were fired by the rebels.[source: Al jazeera]