Saudi Arabia retaliates for rocket attack by Houthis
Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels said late on Friday they had fired a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, but reports from Saudi Arabia said the missile had been intercepted and destroyed. The area is open desert and there were no casualties, the official Saudi news agency SPA said.
Saudi activists on social media reported hearing sounds of explosions in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, not so long after Sanaa government forces launched Burkan-2 ballistic missile towards Riyadh this evening. The coalition said it has immediately retaliated by bombing the Houthi military base in the Attan area following the attack Friday.
Occasional ballistic missile attacks, as well as more frequent short-range rocket fire over the southern border, have been conducted after coalition air strikes against the rebels in Yemen.
According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the conflict to date, while more than 11 percent of the country’s total population have been displaced by the fighting. Some 19 million people – two-thirds of the population – are in need of humanitarian aid.
The Iran-allied Houthis launched a Burkan-1 missile toward Riyadh, a statement by their official news agency said.
The missile attack came hours before US President Donald Trump was expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia as part of his first foreign trip since assuming presidency this January. He is expected to conclude arms deals amounting to $US100 billion, a boon for the USA military-industrial complex. The move would mark a significant reversal in policy from former President Barack Obama, who curbed the US’ role in the Yemeni conflict as civilian deaths began to spike.