JEDDAH: Saudi air defenses shot down a ballistic missile fired by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Monday night, the Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels said on Tuesday.
Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, the coalition's spokesman, said the missile was monitored by the Saudi Air Force to have been launched from Yemen's Amran province at 10:16 p.m. Monday toward populated areas in the southern Saudi province of Najran.
The missile was intercepted before it could hit its target, Al-Maliki said.
The incident happened hours after the coalition warned of a “painful” response if the Houthis mounted new attacks on Saudi Arabia using what it said were Iran-supplied drones.
Saudi forces said they have shot down two drones in the south of the kingdom and intercepted ballistic missiles fired from rebel-held parts of Yemen, the latest in a series of similar incidents.
“If the Houthis continue targeting industrial or residential facilities, the response will be hard and painful,” said Al-Maliki, displaying remnants of the intercepted aircraft.
He said the Houthis have launched 119 ballistic missiles targeted at Saudi Arabia.
Al-Malki told reporters in the eastern city of Alkhobar that the airport of Yemen's rebel-held capital, Sanaa, was used as a military base to orchestrate the drone strike.
The Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi last week said the drones were “made in Iran,” adding that Yemen’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally.”
Iran backs the Houthis, who seized Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military coalition to intervene against the rebels the following year.
Tehran has repeatedly denied arming the rebels, which would violate a United Nations weapons embargo slapped on Yemen in 2015.
Nearly 10,000 people have since been killed in Yemen’s conflict, in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.