RIYADH, Nov 5, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh’s international airport after it was launched from conflict-torn Yemen, in an escalation of the kingdom’s war against Iranbacked Houthi rebels.
The missile attack was the first aimed by the Shiite rebels at the heart of the Saudi capital, underscoring the growing threat posed by the raging conflict in Yemen. A loud explosion was heard and smouldering debris landed inside the King Khalid International Airport, just north of Riyadh, after the missile was shot down but authorities reported no major damage or loss of life. “This evening a ballistic missile was fired from Yemeni territory towards the kingdom,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted coalition spokesman Turki al- Maliki as saying late Saturday.
“The missile was launched indiscriminately to target the civilian and populated areas. Shattered fragments from the intercepted missile landed in an uninhabited area of the airport and there were no injuries,” he added.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah strongly condemned the Yemen-originated ballistic missile attack on the Saudi capital city, Riyadh. His Highness the Amir, in a cable to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, commended the Saudi Royal Defense Forces for intercepting the missile thus preventing casualties.
This hostile attack against Saudi Arabia and its people is violating international norms, said His Highness the Amir, who supported all measures adopted by the Saudi government to preserve the country’s security.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah also sent a cable to King Salman to condemn the ballistic missile attack. His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al- Sabah sent a similar cable.
Houthi rebels, who fired the missile from Yemeni territory more than 1,200 kms from Riyadh, said they were targeting the airport, according to the Houthis’ Al-Masirah television channel.