Saudi Arabia intercepts missile fired at Najran from Yemen

Attack launched a day after Yemen's Houthi rebels suffered heavy losses

(FILES) A file photo taken on December 10, 2017 shows Yemeni fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president gesturing and shout slogans as they stand on a road leading to the town of Khokha which was retaken from Shiite-Huthi rebels, about 120 kilometres south of the Huthi rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida.  / AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
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Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile heading towards the city of Najran on Friday, a day after Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen suffered heavy losses.

The missile was fired from the rebel-held Yemeni province of Amran, the Arab Coalition supporting Yemen's government against the Houthi rebels said.

Coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki said Saudi air defences detected the missile launch at 12.39am. Debris from the intercepted missile fell on populated areas of Najran but did not cause any injuries, Col Al Malki said in a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency.

On Thursday, more than 70 Houthi fighters were killed in Yemen's Hodeidah province as government troops backed by the UAE Armed Forces cut off a rebel supply line.

Aseel Al Sakladi, media officer in the Yemen army's Al Amalikah Brigade, said the rebels' main supply route between Al Tuhaiyta and Zabeed districts was seized in a surprise operation.

"Our troops along with fighters from the public resistance in Tehama supported by the UAE armed forces advanced deep into the desert between Al Tuhaiyta and Zabeed towards Al Maghras and blocked the main supply route that links Al Tuhaiyta with Zabeed," Mr Al Sakladi said.

The rebel ranks collapsed very fast because the operation was launched suddenly from an unexpected direction, he said.

"Seventy-three of the Houthi fighters were killed in the battle, while hundreds fled as troops pressed on towards Zabeed and Al Tuhaiyta, strategic districts which are expected to be entirely liberated in the coming days," Mr Al Sakladi said.

On Friday morning, jets from the Arab Coalition supporting the government launched air strikes at Houthi reinforcements heading towards Zabeed, a military source in Al Tuhaiyta told The National.

The strikes destroyed several Houthi military vehicles trying to approach Zabeed through the desert, the source said

Rashed Mabkhout, a leader of the pro-government resistance in Tehama region of Hodeidah, said on Twitter that the "next couple of days are full of surprises for Hodeidah".

"A big battle is going to change the equation on the coasts of Tehama-Al Hodeidah," he wrote on Thursday night.


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