Saudi air defenses foil Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

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There were bright flashes in the sky last night as Saudi air defense forces destroyed two ballistic missiles over Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
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Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia over Riyadh. (File photo: AP)
Updated 25 June 2018
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Saudi air defenses foil Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

  • Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels, denied claims by the Houthis that the defense ministry had been hit.
  • The latest missile attack on Riyadh has brought new urgency to the military operation by forces from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to capture the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles over Riyadh on Sunday, launched by Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.
Homes in the Saudi capital shook and there were at least six loud blasts, bright flashes in the sky and puffs of smoke above the city. There were no reports of casualties.
The Iran-backed rebels’ news outlet Al-Masirah boasted that the missiles had struck the Saudi defense ministry and other sites in the capital.
But Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels, denied that the defense ministry had been hit.

The attacks were the latest in a series of missile launches targeting densely populated residential areas of Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh and the southern cities of Jazan and Najran, close to the border with Yemen.
The latest missile attack on Riyadh has brought new urgency to the military operation by forces from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to capture the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.
Hodeidah port is a lifeline for humanitarian aid to Yemen, but it is also a conduit for the supply of Iranian weapons to the Houthis, including missiles fired at Saudi Arabia.
The coalition has produced evidence to show that, as well as arms and ammunition, Tehran illegally smuggles missile parts to the Houthis through the port. They are then reassembled and launched at Saudi cities from sites in northern Yemen.
A coalition military operation began two weeks ago to dislodge the Houthis from Hodeidah and halt the supply of weapons and missile parts. 
On Sunday, coalition forces moved closer to the city center.
There was fierce fighting near Hodeidah University, about 3 km west of the city center, on the coastal road linking the city’s airport to the port.
Coalition forces took control of the airport last week and have been consolidating their hold in the area as UN efforts continued to reach a political deal that would avert a full military assault on the port.
Capturing Hodeidah would allow the coalition to cut the supply line to the Houthis in the capital, Sanaa, and the militias are devoting all their resources to retaining control.
“There is a heavy deployment of armed Houthis in the city and new check points have been set up in neighborhoods where there are supporters of the Tehama brigades,” said one resident. The Tehama are a Yemeni faction from the Red Sea coastal plain who are fighting with coalition forces to restore Yemen’s legitimate government.
The coalition has pledged a swift military operation to take over the airport and seaport without entering the city center, to minimize civilian casualties and maintain the flow of goods.
Some civilians have been injured or made homeless in the fighting. The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has received 151 injured people in recent days at Al-Thawrah Hospital, the main public medical facility serving Hodeidah, and expects to receive more as the fighting moves toward the city.
“There are 86 beds in Al-Thawrah and we desperately need more. We hope to set up a field hospital with 20 beds in the next two weeks,” said Caroline Seguin, the charity’s program manager for Yemen.
“The battle for Hodeidah is reaching the point of no return,” the International Crisis Group said in a conflict alert.
“This is the final, fragile moment in which it may still be possible for UN-led negotiations to prevent a destructive fight.” 


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.