Patriot batteries deployed by the United Arab Emirates successfully intercepted a Tochka missile fired by Yemeni rebels Monday night, according to Yemeni military officials. The missile defense systems protected Gulf coalition forces in camp at Safer, an important staging area for military efforts to displace Houthi rebels in the Marib province in central Yemen, which is seen as critical to retaking the capitol of Sanaa. There were no casualties from the missile attack and debris from the intercept landed far from the camp, according to Brigadier General Murad Turiaq of the Yemeni army. A prior rebel missile attack on September 4 against Safer killed 67 coalition soldiers.
Previously, Saudi Patriot batteries intercepted Houthi-fired Scud missiles targeted at southern Saudi Arabia on June 6 and August 26. Saudi military officials claimed on March 29 that the Saudi Air Force had destroyed, “most of these capabilities,” in reference to Yemen’s ballistic missiles. Before the conflict, press reports estimate that Yemen possessed an arsenal of about 300 Scud missiles and an unknown number of Tochka missiles.
The Tochka or SS-21 missile reportedly used in Monday’s attack is a Soviet-era short-range ballistic missile. Russia maintains these missile in their arsenal and used them during the 2008 conflict in Georgia. Variants of the missile have proliferated around the globe and are currently deployed by Belarus, Kazahkstan, Slovakia, Syria, and Yemen. North Korea produces an indigenous variant called the KN-02