Saudi forces intercept Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Najran

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A Saudi man walks past wreckage at a market for vehicles on Aug. 27, 2016 in Najran, a week after it was struck by a rocket fired from Yemen. AFP
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The fragments of the ballistic missile landed over residential areas in Najran. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Saudi forces intercept Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Najran

  • The Saudi Royal Air Defense Force intercepted a ballistic missile headed towards Najran
  • The missile was spotted at 00:39 Saudi time and was said to be fired by the Houthi militia in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi Royal Air Defense Force intercepted on Friday morning a ballistic missile headed toward Najran.

The missile was spotted at 00:39 Saudi time and was said to be fired by the Houthi militia in Yemen.
The Houthis deliberately fired the missile toward Najran, targeting civilian and populated areas, coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Debris from the missile landed in residential areas of Najran without causing casualties, Al-Maliki said.
He added: “This hostile act carried out by the Iranian Houthi militia proves that the Iranian regime is still providing the terrorist Houthi armed militia with qualitative capabilities, in flagrant defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and 2231, with the main objective of threatening Saudi Arabian, regional and international security.”
He concluded: “Launching ballistic missiles at densely populated civilian areas is a direct breach of the principles of the international humanitarian law.”
The Houthi militias claimed the attack via their news outlet Al-Masirah, saying the “Badr 1” missile had targeted Najran.
The Iranian-backed Houthis have fired a number of missiles over the border at Saudi cities, including the capital, Riyadh, in breach of international laws banning the targeting of civilian areas.
On Thursday, Saudi forces also intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi militia toward the border province of Jazan.
The ballistic missile was launched from the Houthi strong-hold province of Saada.
And on Wednesday, UAE coalition forces intercepted two boats in the Red Sea being used by the Houthis to target a tanker.
Saudi Arabia has since March 2015 led a coalition of Arab states fighting to roll back the Houthis in Yemen and restore its neighbor’s internationally recognized government to power.
So far, the Houthis have launched over 130 missiles at Saudi cities and installations.

Arab coalition allows aid group to enter Yemen
For the second time in less than a month, the Saudi-led Arab coalition has allowed Al-Balsam International Organization to enter Yemen to provide needy patients with free medical services, in coordination with the country’s legitimate government.
A medical team from Al-Balsam will leave for Yemen in the coming days, the coalition said.
Earlier in May, the organization successfully treated heart patients in the country, performing surgeries including open heart surgery and catheterization.
This is part of ongoing coalition efforts to facilitate the entry of international humanitarian organizations into Yemen to alleviate suffering caused by Iran-backed Houthi militias, which continue to destroy and damage infrastructure and health facilities, and loot humanitarian aid to blackmail Yemenis.
Earlier, Yemen’s Minister of Public Health and Population Nasir Baoum expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for its continuous support for Yemen, and the medical team from Al-Balsam International Organization for their great humanitarian work in the country.


Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”