JEDDAH: Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted a Scud missile fired from Sanaa Saturday night, the Arab Coalition fighting Iran-backed Yemeni rebels said on Sunday. In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the coalition said the ballistic missile was launched from the Yemeni capital toward the southwestern Saudi city of Najran and it was shot down by Patriot Missiles at about 11 p.m.
Coalition jets immediately launched retaliatory strikes and have neutralized the missile launch base within Yemeni territory, the statement said. “The air force immediately destroyed the rocket launch platform,” it said. In Sanaa, Yemen’s state news agency said the missile was targetted at a Saudi National Guard base in Najran on Yemen’s northwest border with Saudi Arabia.
The attack is the latest of several ballistic missile strikes by Yemeni forces on Saudi Arabia, none of which have caused any reported casualties. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in the forefront of a military alliance of Arab states which have launched an air, sea and land offensive since March against rebels trying to topple the UN-recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Shiite Houthi militia and forces of disgraced former Yemeni strongman Abdullah Saleh have joined hands against the Hadi government, with alleged backing by Iran. The conflict has killed nearly 6,000 people and plunged the impoverished country into a humanitarian crisis, but a cease-fire coinciding with United Nations-backed talks began on Dec. 15. Though both sides have accused each other of many violations of the cease-fire, it has significantly reduced the fighting and allowed for deliveries of small amounts of aid to the war zones.
Yemen’s warring parties agreed to resume talks on Jan. 14.