RIYADH, Jan 17, (Agencies): A ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s armed Houthi group towards Saudi Arabia’s southern Jizan region was shot down by Saudi forces on Tuesday, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported. The station gave no further details. There were no reports of casualties or damage.
The Iranian-aligned Houthis have fired several missiles at the kingdom, and while these have not caused any serious damage they have served to deepen tensions between Riyadh and its arch rival Tehran. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying missile parts and expertise to the Houthis, who have taken over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and other parts of the country during its civil war. Iran denies the charge. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition that has been fighting the Houthis in neighbouring Yemen since March 2015, after the movement drove Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.
Saudi Arabia said on Nov 4 it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport, an attack that led the coalition to close air, land and sea access to Yemen in a move it said was meant to stop Iranian supplies to the Houthis. The confl ict has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced over two million and brought much of the country to the brink of famine. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) denounced Tuesday the 300 violations against journalists, media workers, media houses and websites reported in Yemen during 2017.
The IFJ in a press release, referring to the annual report by the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate, said that the Houthis rebel group committed 68 percent of the total violations, while 18 percent are attributed to the governmental and its agencies. There were other unknown non-state actors who are responsible for nine percent of media restrictions. Other groups such as the Southern Movement and Ansar Al-Sharia were involved in abuse by one percent.
Last year, journalists faced many forms of abuse such as threats and incitement, seizure of media equipment, suspensions from work, unpaid salaries, expulsions and denial of access for covering current events. The report also showed 103 cases of kidnappings and arrests. Fourteen journalists were kidnapped and are currently held in detention, 13 out of them in Houthis’ custody for more than two years.