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Monday Mar 26 2018

Saudi air force intercepts missile over Riyadh: state TV

Image courtesy: Twitter/Puffin Man (@junaidakram83)/Screenshot

RIYADH: The Saudi air force intercepted a missile over the northeastern part of the capital Riyadh late on Sunday night, Saudi state television said.

Reuters reporters in the capital heard several loud booms and saw smoke in the air shortly before midnight.

Another witness said he saw a long stream of light followed by additional explosions.

Multiple videos on social media showed the launch of interceptors as well as a missile being destroyed. One of the interceptors, however, appeared to fail and fall, causing an explosion.

Yemen's Houthi-run SABA news agency reported that the group's missile force had targeted King Khalid InternationalĀ Airport in Riyadh with a Burkan H2 missile.

The group also fired other types of missiles at airports in the southern Saudi cities of Abha, Jizan, and Najran, according to the SABA report.

Saudi authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was not the first time that Saudi military has reported intercepting a missile in their territory.

Since November, Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have fired multiple missiles into Saudi Arabia, all of which Saudi forces say they intercepted.

On November 4, Saudi Arabia thwarted a rebel missile attack on Riyadh international airport that Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman said "may amount to an act of war" involving Iran.

The Houthis expelled pro-government forces from the capital in September 2014 and went on to seize swathes of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

This prompted the Saudi-led coalition to intervene militarily in Yemen on March 26, 2015, to help the government push back the Houthi rebels. Around 10,000 people have since been killed and 53,000 wounded in Yemen, which is also battling cholera and diphtheria outbreaks.

Earlier, on January 5, Saudi Arabia had intercepted a ballistic missile over the kingdom's south, near the border with Yemen, state media reported, hours after Yemeni rebels said they had launched an attack.

The Houthi rebels, locked in a war against Yemen's Saudi-backed government, had said they had fired a missile at the kingdom's southwestern province of Najran in a statement tweeted by their Al-Masirah television channel.

Saudi air defences intercepted the ballistic missile over Najran, according to the kingdom's state-owned Al Ekhbariya news channel.

At that time, the kingdom had denounced the threat of "Iranian-manufactured ballistic weapons" after it intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over Riyadh in December.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015 when Saudi Arabia and other Muslim Arab states launched a military campaign against the Houthis, a group of fighters who had seized the capital and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee.

The United Nations says living conditions in the war-scarred country have reached catastrophic levels and that 8.4 million people face imminent famine.

Numerous rounds of UN-sponsored peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed in Yemen.

The Houthis plan a huge rally in Sanaa on Monday to mark the war's third anniversary.

NOTE: Videos obtained from social media have not been independently verified by Geo News or