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Saudi Arabia Intercepts Missiles Over 2 Cities


FILE - A Saudi border guard patrols Saudi Arabia's maritime border with Yemen along a beach on the Red Sea, near Jizan, April 8, 2015.

Saudi Arabia intercepted ballistic missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, the country’s state news agency reported Sunday.

Citing a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the militia, Saudi state news agency SPA reported that Riyadh intercepted two ballistic missiles over the capital as well as Jizan, a city along the Middle Eastern country’s border with Yemen, late Saturday.

"Two civilians were slightly injured due to the falling of the intercepted missile's debris as it exploded in mid-air over residential districts'' in Riyadh, Saudi civil defense spokesman, Lt. Colonel Mohammed Al-Hammadi was quoted as saying by SPA.

The missiles were fired days after all parties in Yemen showed support for a United Nations call for a ceasefire, which warned that all parties must stop fighting as the world fights the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.N. expressed alarm at the missile firing, renewing calls for all parties in Yemen to support a ceasefire largely supported by “Yemeni political leaders, tribal chiefs and civil society groups.”

“I am gravely dismayed and disappointed by these actions at a time when the Yemeni public’s demands for peace are unanimous and louder than ever before. Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak,” U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths said in a statement.

Houthi rebels frequently fire missiles into Saudi Arabia, most of which do not reach the capital.

The missile attacks come on the fifth anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, when Riyadh attempted to restore the country’s internationally recognized government.

When the coalition began bombing in 2015, Houthi rebels and their allies were already embroiled in a civil war with the Saudi-backed government they ousted from the Yemeni capital.

The war is fueled by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the latter supporting the Houthis.

The war in Yemen has killed over 100,000 people – many of them at the hands of Saudi airstrikes.