Yemeni Houthi rebels target Saudi Arabia by three Scud missiles: SPA
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Sana, June 7, IRNA -- Yemen's Houthi rebels targeted territory of Saudi Arabia by three Scud ballistic missiles fired from Yemen, Saudi Press Agency said on Sunday.
It was the first time Yemeni factions had used the weapon, signaling an escalation of the conflict and providing new evidence that Saudi crime of aggression on Yemen and mass killing of the Yemeni civilians backfire.
The missile was fired from northern Yemen toward the city of Khamis Mushayt, in southwestern Saudi Arabia, and was intercepted by two Saudi Patriot missiles, the Saudi press agency said. The city is near a Saudi Air Force base.
Saudi Arabia and forces loyal to the Houthis have traded sporadic fire across the border since late March, when an Arab coalition led by the Saudis began a military offensive to force the Houthis to retreat from Sana, the capital, and other cities in Yemen.
The Scud launching, confirmed in a statement by Houthi news outlets, was part of a pattern of escalating violence across the frontier in recent weeks that has raised fears that the war is expanding, even as diplomats intensify their efforts to convene negotiations between the two parties.
The Saudi Press Agency said that the firing of the missile was part of a broader, failed offensive on the border carried out by troops allied with the Houthis. It came a day after Saudi airstrikes in northern Yemen killed at least 50 people, according to statement released by Yemeni health centers.
Observers say that the Houthi operations raised new questions about the effectiveness of the open-ended Saudi offensive, which has failed to achieve its stated goals over the course of a war that has killed more than 2,000 people.
Scores of deaths have occurred during the Saudi airstrikes on Sana, with secondary explosions sending shrapnel hurtling through residential areas.
It was not clear how many of the missiles remained in the possession of the Houthis, who are allied with well-armed military units loyal to Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Mr. Saleh's forces publicly received at least one shipment of Scud missiles from North Korea in 2002.
The United States, which had seized the shipment of 15 disassembled and concealed missiles, eventually allowed the weapons to pass after Mr. Saleh, whom the Bush administration considered an ally in the fight against terrorism, promised they would be used for defensive purposes.
Saudi press agency said that after downing the Scud, warplanes were able to locate and destroy the missile launcher.
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