Several explosions rocked Riyadh on Saturday as Saudi state television reported that a missile attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels was thwarted.
Iran-backed Houthis have stepped up attacks on the state, while they take an aggressive step to seize Marib, the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.
The Saudi-led military coalition foiled a “Houthi ballistic missile attack” targeting Riyadh, state-run Ikhbaria television said, without specifying the number of missiles.
AFP reporters and residents of the Saudi capital reported hearing several loud explosions. State television footage showed that the night sky shone brightly after the missile was intercepted.
Separately, the coalition said it intercepted four Houthi drones targeting the southern region of the state – two on the garrison town of Khamis Mushayat, and one on the city of Jijan and another unspecified location.
The rebels did not immediately claim responsibility for any attacks. They often attack the southern regions of the state and first target Riyadh with missiles and drones.
Saudi Arabia hosts a Formula E championship on the outskirts of Riyadh, which state media said was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler.
Even after advancing efforts by the United States to turn insurgents into terrorists and end the six-year conflict, the Houthis have increased cross-border attacks on the state.
The designation imposed by Donald Trump’s previous US administration was widely criticized by aid organizations, who warned that it would hamper their efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
US President Joe Biden halted support for Saudi offensive campaigns in Yemen’s war, which he called a “catastrophe” that “has to end”. But he also reiterated US support for Saudi Arabia in defending its territory.
Along with cross-border attacks, the Houthis are moving forward with a deadly invasion to seize the Yemeni government stronghold of Marib, where some of the country’s richest oil fields are found.
Years of bombings have failed to shake the rebels’ hold on the capital, Sanaa, and have steadily expanded their reach in the north of the country.
According to international organizations, Yemen’s Peace Struggle has claimed the lives and displaced of tens of thousands of people, stating what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)