BREAKING: Loud Booms Heard In Saudi Capital
(NAN) Four consecutive loud booms were heard in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Wednesday, Reuters witnesses said.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi authorities.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said it fired a salvo of ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital on Wednesday – an attack Saudi authorities said they intercepted in the skies over the city.
The assault comes a day after Saudi Arabia’s top ally the United States pulled out of an international deal with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme and could signal an uptick in tensions between regional rivals Riyadh and Tehran.
The Houthis said the missiles were launched at economic targets in Riyadh, the group’s al-Masirah TV reported. At least four blasts were heard in the city centre, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The Houthis have fired a series of missiles into neighbouring Saudi Arabia in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy battle between the Saudis and Iran.
A spokesman for the Houthi-aligned military Colonel Aziz Rashed told al-Masirah TV channel that the attack on the capital and another area marked “a new phase” and was revenge for Saudi air strikes on Yemen.
“There will be more salvos until this enemy is deterred, understands the meaning of the Yemeni threat and ceases its crimes,” Rashed said.
He did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, hours earlier, to pull out of the international nuclear accord with Iran. But there have been fears the U.S. pull-out could exacerbate the conflict in Yemen and other regional flashpoints.
Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies queued up on Wednesday to praise Trump’s decision, as did Yemen’s government, which has been forced into exile by Houthi advances in their country.
The Yemeni government said the U.S. withdrawal as a necessary step to stop Iran’s “destabilising and dangerous” behaviour. “The Iranian regime has exploited the benefits of the nuclear agreement to export violence and terrorism to its neighbours,” it said in a statement.
Saudi state media said separately that air defence forces had intercepted a missile launched at the southern city of Jizan, in an attack also claimed by the Houthis.
“This hostile action by the Houthi militia backed by Iran proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki was quoted as saying by state news agency SPA.
Iran, he added, aimed “to threaten the security of Saudi Arabia as well as regional and international security”.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to try and push back the Houthis after they ousted the internationally recognised government.
Iran and the Houthis have regularly dismissed Saudi accusations that Tehran is arming the group.
In recent months, Yemen’s Houthis have targeted the Saudi capital several times with missiles the Saudi military has said it intercepted.