Saudi Arabia Intercepts Missile Attack 02/28 08:59
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Saudi Arabia said Saturday it
intercepted a missile attack over its capital and bomb-laden drones targeting a
southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults it has blamed on
Yemen's rebel Houthis.
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen's yearslong war announced
the Iran-allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and
three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan, with a fourth toward
another southwestern city and other drones being monitored. No casualties or
damage were initially reported. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.
The attack comes amid sharply rising tensions in the Middle East, a day
after a mysterious explosion struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman.
That blast renewed concerns about ship security in the strategic waterways that
saw a spate of suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers in 2019.
The state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV broadcast footage of what appeared to be
explosions in the air over Riyadh. Social media users also posted videos, with
some showing residents shrieking as they watched the fiery blast pierce the
night sky, which appeared to be the kingdom's Patriot missile batteries
intercepting the ballistic missile.
Col. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the
Houthis were trying in "a systematic and deliberate way to target civilians."
The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to Americans, calling on them to
"stay alert in case of additional future attacks." Flight-tracking websites
showed a number of flights scheduled to land at Riyadh's international airport
diverted or delayed in the hour after the attack.
A civil defense spokesman, Mohammed al-Hammadi, later said scattered debris
resulted in material damage to one house, though no one was hurt, the state-run
Saudi Press Agency reported.
As Yemen's war grinds on, Houthi missile and drone attacks on the kingdom
have grown commonplace, only rarely causing damage. Earlier this month the
Houthis struck an empty passenger plane at Saudi Arabia's southwestern Abha
airport with a bomb-laden drone, causing it to catch fire.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international
criticism for airstrikes in Yemen that have killed hundreds of civilians and
hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and wedding parties.
President Joe Biden announced this month he was ending U.S. support for the
Saudi-led war in Yemen, including "relevant" arms sales. But he stressed that
the U.S. would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against outside
The Houthis overran Yemen's capital and much of the country's north in 2014,
forcing the government into exile and months later prompting Saudi Arabia and
its allies to launch a bombing campaign.