Saudi defense forces shoot down Houthi missile over Riyadh

A combo photo from a video on social media shows Patriots being fired against the oncoming Houthi missile over Riyadh on Saturday.
Updated 05 November 2017

Saudi defense forces shoot down Houthi missile over Riyadh

JEDDAH: Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile on Saturday night aimed at Riyadh.

Saudi defense forces intercepted and shot down the missile, and there were no casualties.
Fire engines and emergency vehicles sped to runway R33 at King Khaled International Airport after reports of loud bangs at about 8.45 p.m. 
The General Authority of Civil Aviation said some remnants of the missile landed inside the airport perimeter, but there was no significant damage and all flights were operating as usual.
The Iran-backed rebels admitted the attack in a statement on the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television channel. They said they had targeted the airport.
The Houthis have now launched 78 missiles at Saudi Arabia, including one aimed at Makkah in July, since the Saudi-led coalition began fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen in March 2015.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the coalition spokesman, said the missile was fired at 8.07 p.m. and intercepted by the Patriot defense system. Some debris fell in an inhabited area east of the airport, he said.
“This aggressive and futile act by Houthi militias proves the involvement of a regional state that sponsors terrorism in providing the armed Houthi militias with advanced capabilities in flagrant violation of UN Resolution 2216, threatening the security of Saudi Arabia as well as the regional and international security,” Al-Maliki said. “Moreover, targeting civilian areas is a violation of international humanitarian law.”
Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh, told Arab News: “The Houthi missile attack, coming on a day when Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister in protest against Hezbollah and Iran’s blackmail in Lebanon, can be read as a sign of Iranian frustration.
“Iran and Hezbollah are playing a dirty and dangerous game in the region. They are undermining the stability of the region.
“We know how they targeted the holy city of Makkah in the past; now they have targeted civilians and the airport in the Saudi capital. They are a killing machine and have no qualms about attacking innocent people.”
The attack would only strengthen the determination of the Saudi people and their allies, Al-Shehri said. “This will make us resolute against Iran and Hezbollah and their puppets, the Houthis. They are running out of their dirty cards. Saudi Arabia will neutralize them. Now the Kingdom’s resolve will be even fiercer.”
Now was the time for the international community to put a stop to the Houthi missile menace, Al-Shehri said. “They need to be stopped at all costs. They can’t play with the stability of the region.
“They are playing with fire, and the United Nations and the world must condemn the attacks, and not just condemn, but use all resources — diplomatic and military — to bring Iran, Hezbollah, and the Houthis to heel.”

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.