Houthi rebels launched a missile at the palace of King Salman in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.
A ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the government palace in Riyadh has been destroyed.
Houthi rebels claimed the intended target was the official residence of King Salman — al-Yamama palace — where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way.
#Yemen Ambassadors Group condemn Iranian-Houthi missile strike: “Attack took place while the Ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives were in a meeting with President Hadi”https://t.co/07iRS764bg pic.twitter.com/DBjfu6MmqO
— CIC Saudi Arabia (@CICSaudi) December 19, 2017
The rebel group said it marked 1,000 days since the Saudi-led coalition started its bombing campaign in Yemen.
“In exchange for a thousand days of bombardment with internationally banned weapons, there has been a thousand days of steadfastness in which our people have demonstrated that their resolve will not be broken,” rebel chief Abdulmalik al-Huthi said in a speech Tuesday.
“This is our answer to them and to the whole world.
“The more crimes you perpetrate, the more tyrannical you are, you will meet nothing but more missiles.”
Saudi state news agency, Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said its air defences prevented any casualties.
“The missile was aimed at populated residential areas in the Riyadh area, and – thank God – was intercepted and destroyed south of Riyadh without any casualties,” SPA quoted a spokesman for the coalition as saying.
“The possession of Iranian-manufactured ballistic weapons by terrorist organisations, including the Iran-backed Houthi militia, is a threat to regional and international security,” Turki al-Maliki added.
An AFP correspondent in Riyadh heard a loud explosion just before 11am GMT, shortly before King Salman was due to oversee the unveiling of the Saudi annual budget.
Residents in the Saudi capital also reported hearing an explosion and seeing smoke after Tuesday’s attack.
“I was in my office when I heard a big bang,” Tomas Kompikan, a foreign worker in Riyadh, said.
“Suddenly after around 30 to 45 seconds I heard a next sound… and we saw a white smoke.”
It is the third missile offensive from the rebels in just over a month. The first on November 4, aimed at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, led to the coalition shutting down Yemen’s borders and preventing aid efforts.
Another missile set on the city of Khamis was intercepted on December 1.
On the other side, a UN human rights spokesman said air strikes by the coalition had killed at least 136 civilians and non-combatants in Yemen since December 6.
Yemen crisis only getting worse
It is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with casualties surpassing 10,000 since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government’s fight against the Houthis in 2015.
Yemen is currently enduring a devastating famine, as the coalition continues its blockade of the war-torn nation’s borders.
The UK has responded, pledging £50 million in aid on Monday.
Sadly, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said it would only provide relief for a month. She is calling for the “immediate opening up of commercial and humanitarian access into Yemen”.
“Every day, parents are carrying their malnourished children to hospital because they haven’t eaten in days, and families are watching as loved ones die needlessly from treatable illnesses because they do not have access to medical care,” Ms Mordaunt said in a statement.
Every day, parents are carrying their malnourished children to hospital because they haven’t eaten in days.
“UK aid will save lives with new food and fuel; fuel that will produce food, pump clean water to help stop the spread of cholera, and power hospital generators.”