Iran-backed Houthis fire another missile at Saudi Arabia, officials say

first_img Related Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have fired another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government said today. The missile was successfully intercepted today by Saudi air defenses south of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, according to the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information.“There are no reported casualties at this time,” the ministry added.The ballistic missile targeted the al-Yamamah royal palace in Riyadh, Houthi-affiliated TV al-Masirah said. Unconfirmed videos have emerged on social media showing white smoke in the sky. And a Bloomberg News reporter tweeted that she heard a loud boom in central Riyadh. The palace is the official headquarters of the Saudi king.Loud boom heard in central Riyadh — big enough that we felt it shake our tower. No official statement on cause yet. We’re looking into it. #صوت_انفجار_في_الرياض— Vivian Nereim (@viviannereim) December 19, 2017This is the third missile the Saudis say they have intercepted in the past two months. Saudi air defenses intercepted missiles fired by the Houthis Dec. 1 and Nov. 4, Saudi state media, SPA, reported.Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are at some of their highest in recent memory, with escalating rhetorical attacks and proxy military attacks. Saudi accuses Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels of doing Iran’s bidding against them, while Iran accuses Saudi of leading a devastating war against Yemen.The Trump administration has been vocal in its support for Saudi Arabia and has used the latest missile launches to build its case against certifying the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran.Today’s launch comes days after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley held a news conference at a military hangar to show off pieces of Iranian-made Qiam missiles she said were supplied to Houthis.“In this warehouse is concrete evidence of illegal Iranian weapons proliferation gathered by direct military attacks on our partners in the regime,” she said, standing in front of charred remnants of missiles she said were recovered from Saudi Arabia.“These are Iranian made, these are Iranian sent, and these were Iranian given,” Haley added, describing it as evidence Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.One of the exhibits included charred fragments of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made, short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen Nov. 4.Royal Air Force spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki told SPA the Dec. 1 missile was likely headed to the Saudi city of Khamis Mushait but it was successfully intercepted. On Nov. 4, a ballistic missile was launched from across the border toward an area near Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. At the time, Saudi accused Iran of committing “an act of war.”Maliki said the “control of these types of weapons by terrorist organizations, including Al-Houthi armed militias, represents a threat to regional and international security,” according to SPA. He called the launch “contrary to international humanitarian law.”The Saudi Foreign Minister, at the time of the Nov. 4 missile, told CNN “operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah” smuggled missile parts into Yemen.“This is a very, very hostile act,” Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir told the cable network. “We have been extending our hand to Iran since 1979 in friendship, and what we get back is death and destruction.”In response, Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the Saudi accusations were “false, irresponsible, destructive and provocative.”The New York Times reported last week, defense officials could not say exactly when the weapons were given to the Houthis, which means they could have been transferred prior to U.N. resolution 2231. Passed in 2015, the U.N. resolution bars Iran from moving certain weapons outside the country without permission.For its part, the Iranian spokesman at the U.N., Alireza Miryousefi, said the evidence Haley presented was fabricated.“We categorically reject it as unfounded and, at the same time, irresponsible, provocative and destructive,” he said. “This purported evidence, put on public display today, is as much fabricated as the one presented on some other occasions earlier.”Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img

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