Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile from the capital Sanaa that crashed in the northern province of Saada, in a failed attempt to target Saudi Arabia, the Arab Coalition said on Sunday.
The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 on behalf of the internationally recognised government after the Houthis ousted President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in a coup as they seized the capital.
“The Houthi rebels are continuing to violate international humanitarian laws by firing missiles that threaten hundreds of civilians,” coalition spokesperson Col Turki Al Malki said in a statement issued to the state Saudi Press Agency.
During the last few months, the rebels have increased their attacks on Saudi Arabia. But they announced last week that they planned to halt all attacks on the kingdom as part of a peace initiative to end the country’s devastating conflict.
“The Arab Coalition forces will continue to take strict measures to destroy their ballistic capabilities and to protect Yemeni civilians and regional and international security,” Col Al Malki said.
The Iran-backed rebels claimed responsibility for launching attacks on state-owned Saudi Aramco facilities earlier this month, which disrupted more than half of the kingdom’s oil output.
The attack drew international condemnation as the rebels have targeted the kingdom’s pipelines over the last year but never on such a scale that caused much disruption.
Washington said there was no evidence that the drones were launched in Yemen and accused Iran of “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply".
Saudi Arabia has so far not directly accused any party of carrying out the attacks, but said authorities have launched an investigation to determine the culprits.
The Saudi Aramco strike is the latest in a series of events which have escalated tensions between Iran and Arab states that are allied with the US, hampering a UN-brokered peace deal in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah.
The deal, reached in Stockholm last December, includes a ceasefire and a troop withdrawal from the key Red Sea ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa.
Yemeni government officials accuse the rebels of breaching international laws by not committing to the Hodeidah agreement.