Saudi Arabia says it intercepts rebel ballistic missiles in Yemen

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it intercepted ballistic missiles and bomb-laden drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in an attack that started the night before.


The kingdom has waged a yearlong war against the Iranian-backed Houthis, who seized the Yemeni capital in September 2014.

The rebels did not immediately acknowledge the attack, although their Al-Masirah satellite news channel said their forces would make an announcement later in the day about “a comprehensive operation in Saudi Arabia.”

The attack began Monday night, with a brief statement in the Saudi state news agency suggesting that other drones may have passed Saudi air defenses, without giving further details.

On Tuesday, the SPA news agency quoted the kingdom’s military spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Malki, as saying that Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired “towards Riyadh.” The report did not provide further details. Al-Malki said the Houthis launched two other ballistic missiles and eight bomb drones in the attack, all of which the kingdom destroyed.

In the past, the Houthis launched drone and missile strikes against the kingdom, which used its air power to carry out devastating air strikes that also killed Yemeni civilians, prompting international condemnation.

The rebels have largely ignored a previously declared unilateral ceasefire by Saudi Arabia, which launched its campaign against them in 2015 to back Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

The attack came after Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that separatists in southern Yemen, backed by the United Arab Emirates, and the country’s internationally recognized government have agreed to a ceasefire after months of internal strife.


The deal aims to bridge the gap between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, nominal allies in a war against the Houthis.