Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missiles and drone aimed at Riyadh

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missiles and drone aimed at Riyadh
Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missiles and drone aimed at Riyadh

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it intercepted missiles and drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels that targeted its capital Riyadh.

The Kingdom is leading a coalition that is fighting the rebels on behalf of Yemen’s government after the Houthis seized the capital in 2014.

"Coalition forces managed to intercept and destroy a ballistic missile launched by the terrorist Houthi militia from Sanaa towards Riyadh in a deliberate hostile operation," coalition spokesman Turki Al Maliki said in a statement.

The coalition shot down "eight booby-trapped unmanned aircraft to target civilian objects and civilians", as well as "three ballistic missiles from Saada governorate towards the Kingdom," said the statement.

Saudi Arabia has come under dozens of attacks by the Houthis, who use ballistic missiles or drones to target Saudi Arabia's most populated cities and towns.

The biggest attack was the one that targeted the oil giant 's facilities last year.

Yemen plunged into war in 2015 after the Iranian-backed Houthis forcibly took over the capital of Sanaa in 2014.

The latest attacks follow the announcement of a ceasefire agreement between Yemen’s government and the Southern Transitional Council after months of infighting.

Both sides agreed on a ceasefire in Abyan province, de-escalation of tensions in other regions and the start of talks on putting the Riyadh Agreement into effect, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber said.

Last year, Saudi Arabia brokered a peace deal between the two sides after government forces clashed with those allied to the STC in and around Aden, the interim seat of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi's administration.

But the STC declared a plan to move towards self-rule in April, accusing the government of delaying a cabinet shake-up and of not putting a new power-sharing arrangement agreed in Riyadh into effect.

“We welcome the Coalition call for a ceasefire in the province of Abyan and de-escalation in the other provinces in the south” Nazar Haiytham, STC spokesman, told The National.

“We have always affirmed the importance of the Riyadh agreement and its full and comprehensive implementation,” Mr Haiytham said.

The STC “appreciates” the role that Saudi Arabia has taken in ensuring stability and security in southern Yemen, he said.

The standoff between the STC and government forces is “expected to end soon,” an STC official who chose to remain anonymous said.

“The ceasefire is a new opportunity to end the current standoff and reunite efforts to work together alongside the coalition to restore peace and stability to the liberated provinces and collaboratively engage in the battle against the Iranian agenda in Yemen,” he told The National.

The coalition said it would send monitors into Abyan to ensure the ceasefire was upheld and the fighting halted.

It also called on Yemen's political, social and media entities to support the two sides in putting the Riyadh Agreement into effect.

The fallout from the conflict has led Yemen to be labelled as one of the world’s most desperate humanitarian disasters.

Updated: June 23, 2020 07:02 PM

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