DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that it had intercepted a missile attack on its capital and bombed drones aimed at a southern province, the latest in a series of airstrikes blamed on Yemeni Hussein rebels.
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen’s long war has said Iran’s allied Husseins have fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh and three drones to Jizan province. No casualties or damage were initially reported. There was no immediate comment from the Hutus.
The attack comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East and just a day after a mysterious explosion hit an Israeli ship in the Gulf of Oman. The blast renewed concerns about the safety of ships in strategic waterways, where several alleged Iranian attacks on oil tankers were reported in 201
Al-Ekhbariya state television broadcast footage of the blasts in the air over Riyadh. Social media users also posted videos, some showing residents screaming as they watched the blast pierce the night sky, which appears to be US Patriot missile batteries intercepting the ballistic missile.
The U.S. embassy in Riyadh has warned Americans to “stay alert in the event of further attacks.” Flight tracking websites showed that a number of flights scheduled to land at Riyadh International Airport were diverted or delayed in the hours after the attack.
As the war in Yemen escalated, Houthi missiles and drones against the kingdom became commonplace, rarely causing damage. Earlier this month, the Hutus struck an empty passenger plane at Saudi Arabia’s southwestern airport in Abha with a bomb-laden drone, which set it on fire.
The Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international criticism of air strikes in Yemen, which have killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and weddings.
President Biden announced this month that he was ending US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including “relevant” arms sales. But he stressed that the United States would still help Saudi Arabia protect itself from external attacks.
The Husseins captured the capital of Yemen and much of the northern part of the country in 2014, forcing the government into exile and months later forcing Saudi Arabia and its allies to launch a bombing campaign.