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Loud blasts heard in Riyadh as Saudi Arabia intercepts missile

12 April 2018

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for supplying projectiles for rebel missile attacks, a charge Teheran rejects.

At least three loud blasts were heard and three clouds of smoke were seen in the sky above Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Wednesday, Reuters has reported.

The war in Yemen, the region's poorest country, started in 2014 after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital and began pushing south towards the country's third-biggest city Aden.

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Yemen's rebel Houthi movement launched earlier on Wednesday drone strikes on a Saudi Aramco facility and on an airport in Saudi Arabia, Houthi-owned Al-Masirah TV channel reported on Wednesday.

Al-Masirah TV said the Houthis used a Qasef-1 drone to disrupt air traffic at Abha airport and to target a Saudi Aramco facility in Jizan in response to what it described as "Saudi-American crimes against Yemenis".

One of the drones was targeting the Abha worldwide airport in Asir province, which led to a temporary suspension of air traffic, and a second was approaching a "civilian object" in Jizan province, Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

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The missile is thought to have been fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, who a Saudi-led coalition has been bombing since March 2015, when it intervened in support of ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in an effort to prevent Houthis from maintaining the capital of Sanaa.

According to Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the Qasif-1 drone is said to resemble Iran's Ababil-2 drone and is the latest in a line of weapons Tehran has allegedly sent the Houthis.

They have frequently claimed attacks, including on Aramco facilities, that Saudi Arabia and its main ally the United Arab Emirates have either said did not happen or were intercepted.

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After examining the debris, the coalition said it determined it was a Houthi aircraft. Two other missiles were intercepted over the southern areas of Jazan and Najran.

Loud blasts heard in Riyadh as Saudi Arabia intercepts missile