JEDDAH: Houthi militants fired a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia early Saturday night, but Saudi air defenses shot it down before it could do any damage, a spokesman for coalition forces supporting Yemen’s legitimate government said.
Colonel Turki al-Maliki said the Saudi Air Defense Force spotted the missile being being launched at 7:15 p.m. (local time) from the Yemeni governorate of Saada toward the southern Saudi city of Jazan and intercepted it.
Al-Maliki accused the Houthis of deliberately targeting civilian and populated areas in the Kingdom, in willful violation of international law.
"This hostile act by the Houthi terrorist militia of Iran proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthi armed militias in clear defiance of the UN resolutions issued in this regard and a threat to the security of Saudi Arabia and regional and international security. The launching of ballistic missiles towards towns and villages In the population is contrary to international humanitarian law,” he said in a statement.
The Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV station itself confirmed that the missile launch was meant to hit a populated area, according to a Reuters report.
“The (Houthi) rocket force fired a Badr ballistic missile at the Industrial City of Jizan,” Al-Masirah said, without saying when the attack took place.
The Iran-aligned Houthis regularly announce they have fired missiles over the Saudi-Yemeni border into Jizan province in an effort to hit important facilities, including an oil refinery operated by Saudi Aramco. Most of the missiles are intercepted by Saudi Air Defence Forces, using the US-supplied Patriot missile system.
The Houthis say their missile attacks are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition, which entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to try to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Hadi was ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in 2015.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have accused Iran of arming the Houthis as part of the Tehran regime’s regionwide destabilization program in furtherance of its hegemonistic ideology.
The coalition, along with its Western allies, have shown proof of Iran’s support for the Houthis, including its supply of ballistic missiles.
Militants from the Iran-aligned Hezbollah of Lebanon, labelled as a “terrorist” group by the coalition and the US, have also been killed in battles with Yemeni government forces in the past months.