The Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Yemens Houthis when state television broadcasts footage of air explosions over Riyadh.

Several explosions were heard and the night sky over the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, lit up with bright flashes on Saturday as a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition announced the prevention of a missile attack it accused the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Brigadier General Turki al-Malki, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, said in a statement that the Houthis fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones towards Jizan province, a fourth towards the southwestern city Khamis Mushait.

No casualties were reported, although state television Al Ekhbariya said fragments of the missile were scattered across multiple districts of Riyadh and damaged at least one home.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.

The attacks came when Saudi Arabia hosted a Formula E championship on the outskirts of Riyadh, in which, according to state media, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took part.

Al Ekhbariya broadcast footage of explosions in the air over Riyadh, and social media users also posted videos. Some showed residents screeching as they saw the fiery explosion pierce the night sky, which apparently intercepted the Kingdom’s Patriot missile batteries and the ballistic missile.

Video | The destruction of a ballistic attack by the Houthi militia against # Riyadh # Al-Akhbariya by the coalition

– News Channel (@alekhbariyatv) February 27, 2021

Video of the interception of Patriot Missile via #Riyadh, #KSA in the last 15 minutes. Unknown destination at the moment.

– Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) February 27, 2021

Al Malki said the Houthis “systematically and deliberately tried to target civilians”.

The US embassy in Riyadh warned the Americans and urged them to “remain vigilant in the event of further future attacks.” Flight tracking websites have shown several flights intended to land at Riyadh International Airport that were diverted or delayed in the hour after the attack.

Aircraft scheduled to land in Riyadh continue to stop in several regions of Saudi airspace.

– Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) February 27, 2021

As the year-long war in Yemen continues, Houthi missile and drone strikes on the kingdom are commonplace and rarely cause damage. Earlier this month, the Houthis hit an empty passenger plane at the southwestern airport of Abha in Saudi Arabia with a bomb-laden drone and set it on fire.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has come under international criticism for air bombing in Yemen that killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets such as schools, hospitals and wedding parties.

US President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that he would end his country’s support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen, including “relevant” arms sales. However, he stressed that the US would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against outside attacks.

The Houthis overran the capital of Yemen and much of the north of the country in 2014, forcing the government into exile months later, prompting Saudi Arabia and its allies to intervene. But years of bombing failed to shake the rebels’ influence on the capital, Sanaa, and they have steadily expanded their reach in the north of the country.

The Houthis are now pushing a deadly offensive to capture the Yemeni government stronghold in Marib, home to some of the country’s richest oil fields.

According to international organizations, the grueling conflict in Yemen claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, sparking what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.


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