Saudis shoot down missile over Riyadh

Saudi air defenses shot down a missile fired at Riyadh, the capital of the kingdom, national television reported, citing the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

City residents said they heard strong explosions on Saturday evening when the missile was destroyed.

The attack was not immediately claimed, but Saudi public media accused the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of being behind.

The Houthis have already launched hundreds of missiles and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia. The majority of these attacks targeted bases and cities across the border, but some missiles also reached large cities in other parts of the kingdom.

The most recent attack took place on Friday when the coalition announced that it had destroyed several Houthi drones over the Saudi cities southwest of Abha and Khamis Mushait.

The Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation in Yemen in May 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into exile after the Houthis ousted in 2014.

The ballistic missile launch comes days after belligerents in Yemen agreed to a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire in the hope of protecting the poorest country in the Arab world from the threat of the coronavirus then that the conflict marked its fifth anniversary.

A coalition spokesman called for de-escalation and practical measures to “alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and work hard to meet the threats of the coronavirus pandemic,” said a statement released on Wednesday.

To date, no cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country.

The World Health Organization said last week that it had sent medical supplies to Yemen, including personal protection items for health workers and test kits to the Houthi-owned capital Sana ‘ a and to the southern port city of Aden, where the Hadi government is based.

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