Saudi air defences shoot down ballistic missiles fired from Yemen

Coalition says missiles targeted civilians and cities

A Houthi rebel fighter holds his a weapon during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Iranian-backed Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. The Houthi rebels control the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, where most of the population lives. They are at war with a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally recognized government. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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Saudi Arabia’s air defences intercepted ballistic missiles launched at the kingdom from Yemen on Friday, a spokesman for the Joint Forces said.

The missiles, shot down in the early hours of Friday morning, were aimed at Saudi cities, coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki told the state Spa news agency.

“The missiles were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians,” Col Al Malki said.

He said the missiles were launched from the Yemeni capital Sanaa by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Col Al Malki said Sanaa had become a “launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the kingdom".

Videos posted to social media showed the Saudi defences intercepting an object near the city of Yanbu, about 165 kilometres west of Medina.

“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has exercised extreme prudence and self-restraint in dealing with the violations of the Houthi militia through launching ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and remote-controlled exploding boats,” Col Al Malki said.

He said the coalition would continue to implement “rigorous measures” to protect residents in coalition countries from “barbaric attacks”.

Saudi Arabia has been targeted before by long-range ballistic missile and drone attacks carried out by the Houthi rebels.

The kingdom and the US say Iran is helping the Houthis to carry out the attacks.

This week a report detailed how the Houthis have developed more powerful drones with the help of Iran.

US warships have recently intercepted Iranian weapons shipments, including missiles, that the authorities say were destined for the Houthis in Yemen.