Saudi-led military coalition says Iran-allied Houthis launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan, with a number of other drones being monitored.
Saudi Arabia has said it intercepted a missile attack over its capital and bomb-laden drones targeting a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults it has blamed on Yemen’s rebel Houthis.
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen’s years-long war announced the Iran-allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan on Saturday, with a number of other drones being monitored.
No casualties or damages were initially reported. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.
The attack comes amid sharply rising tensions in the Middle East, a day after a mysterious explosion struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman.
That blast renewed concerns about ship security in the strategic waterways that saw a spate of suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers in 2019.
The state-owned Al Ekhbariya TV posted footage of what appeared to be explosions in the air over Riyadh.
Social media users also posted videos, with some showing residents shrieking as they watched the fiery blast streaking the night sky, which appeared to be the kingdom’s US Patriot missile batteries intercepting the ballistic missile.
AFP correspondents and residents of the Saudi capital reported hearing multiple loud explosions.
Colonel Turki al Malki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the Houthis were trying in “a systematic and deliberate way to target civilians.”
The US Embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to Americans, calling on them to “stay alert in case of additional future attacks.”
Separately, the coalition said it intercepted four Houthi drones targeting the kingdom's southern region — two on the garrison city of Khamis Mushait, and one each on Jizan city and another unspecified location.
The rebels did not immediately claim responsibility for any of the attacks.
The assaults come as Saudi Arabia hosts a Formula E championship on the outskirts of Riyadh, which state media said was attended by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Worst humanitarian crisis
Earlier this month the Houthis struck an empty passenger plane at Saudi Arabia's southwestern Abha airport with a bomb-laden drone, causing it to catch fire.
Alongside the cross-border attacks, the Houthis are pressing ahead with a deadly offensive to seize the Yemeni government stronghold of Marib, where some of the country's richest oil fields are found.
Years of bombings have failed to shake the rebels' hold on the capital Sanaa, and they have steadily expanded their reach in the country's north.
Yemen's grinding conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, according to international organisations, sparking what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
READ MORE: Battle for Yemen’s Marib, explained
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international criticism for air strikes in Yemen that have killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and wedding parties.
But he stressed that the US would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against outside attacks.
The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital and the country's north, where the majority of the population lives, since September 2014.
Months later, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war to dislodge the rebels and restore Yemen's internationally recognised government.