Saudi forces intercept Houthi scout drone over Abha airport

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Saudi Arabia's air defence forces have intercepted three ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and other cities by Yemen's Houthis who have stepped up attacks recently, threatening to escalate a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

There was no immediate comment from the government but according to Saudi news channel al-Arabiya, the explosions were caused by the Saudi air defence intercepting a rocket.

The Houthis say their missile attacks on the kingdom are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition.

A week ago, Saudi air defense forces said they shot down a missile fired by the Houthis at the Aramco refinery in Jizan.

Almost 10,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

According to Al Masirah TV, which is run by the Houthis, the missile was aimed at the defense ministry.

One of the drones was targeting the Abha global airport in Asir province, which led to a temporary suspension of air traffic.


While Saudi Arabia's allies have been able to recover areas in southern Yemen from the Houthis, the rebels still control the capital Sana'a and territories in the north. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly blamed Iran for supplying projectiles for rebel missile attacks, a charge Tehran rejects. Iran denies arming the rebels.

The Houthis past year unveiled the Qasef-1 drone, along with three other new types of drones used for surveillance and attack, claiming they were indigenously made. The group unveiled the Qasef-1 drone past year.

Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea.

A missile fragment last month killed an Egyptian resident of Riyadh - the first death reported in the capital as a result of the missile strikes.

Drones operated by Yemeni armed forces have targeted a Saudi airport and a facility belonging to the state-run oil giant Aramco in the kingdom's southern border regions.

Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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