SANAA – Yemen’s Houthi rebels said late on Friday they had fired a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, but reports from Saudi Arabia said the missile had been intercepted and destroyed, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
In a report by the rebel-controlled Saba news agency, Houthis claimed they had fired a “Burkan 2 ballistic missile” toward Riyadh Friday night.
However, the official Saudi news agency SPA quoted a statement by Saudi-led coalition later Friday that it had intercepted and destroyed a Houthi missile in the southern Saudi province of Ar Rayn, about 200 km west of Riyadh.
The Houthi move came a day ahead of US President Donald Trump’s first visit to Riyadh to attend a Saudi-US conference on Middle East issues.
The Saudi agency also reported that the coalition warplanes targeted the Houthi missile launch pad.
Residents in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa reported several air strikes by Saudi-led warplanes on the Missiles Brigades in Sanaa following Houthi declaration of firing the ballistic missile.
This is the third time in nearly two months that Houthis claimed firing ballistic missiles on military targets in Saudi Arabia, but were all intercepted and destroyed without causing any casualties.
Houthi rebels ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and seized control of northern Yemen in September 2014. In March 2015, in support of Hadi, Saudi Arabia led a mostly Arab military coalition to fight the Houthi rebels, who seized most of northern Yemen, including Sanaa.
The war has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians, and displaced over two million people, according to humanitarian agencies.