Saudi Arabian authorities have successfully intercepted two ballistic missiles aimed at the kingdom’s capital Riyadh and another city in the south, Jazan, on March 28.
The interception of missiles led to falling debris along residential areas in the two cities, resulting in two civilians sustaining minor injuries.
It is believed that Yemen’s Houthi group is behind the attacks. Riyadh is about 620 miles (998 kilometers) from the country’s border with Yemen. If this is the case, it would not be the first time that the Iran-aligned Houthi have launched an attack Riyadh, with the previous attempt recorded in mid-2019.
According to state media, United States Patriot missile defense systems were used in the interception.
Warning of further attacks
On March 29, Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Saria, claimed that the group had launched rockets and drones at “sensitive” areas in the capital city, Riyadh and at economic and military zones in Jazan, Najran and Asir located in the southern region. Residents of Riyadh reported witnessing multiple blasts around 11 p.m. local time.
Saria said there would be more attacks against Saudi Arabia if aggression against Yemen were to continue. The conflict between the two nations originated when a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015.
Global ceasefire request
On March 24, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire to allow the world to focus on the fight against the current novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. This move was welcomed by all parties in the Yemen conflict.
“This attack does not target only Saudi Arabia, but targets international unity and solidarity, especially under such difficult conditions in which the world is uniting in combating the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic,” the spokesperson of the Arab Coalition forces Turki Al-Malki said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Yemen has said that the country has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of March 25. The country has taken preventive measures to manage the spread of the virus, including closing down schools and large gatherings such as prayers in mosques.
However, international organizations warn that the lack of access to clean water and the current conflict in Yemen could threaten the lives of millions. The UN considers Yemen to be the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 14 million people at risk of starvation and outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters here!