Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi rebel missile fired towards Riyadh
Saudi officials have said they shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's rebel Houthi movement towards Riyadh. The missile launch came just a day ahead of US President Donald Trump's arrival in the Saudi capital.
Saudi Arabia's air defense unit said on Friday that it had shot down a Houthi ballistic missile around 200km (120 miles) southwest of the capital, Riyadh.
The Saudi-led coalition said in a statement that it had "intercepted a ballistic missile that was launched by Houthi militias over an unpopulated area."
The Houthi movement reported through its official news agency that the Burkan-1 missile had been fired at Riyadh.
Regional power struggle
What began as a largely domestic conflict has morphed into a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with neither side appearing prepared to lay down their arms.
In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni civil war against the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in a bid to restore the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
On Friday, the Saudi-owned network, Al-Arabiya TV, reported that the coalition had been "massively" bombing a missile base just outside of the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
After two years of fighting, the conflict has displaced 3 million people, left nearly 8,000 dead and injured more than 42,000. Some 19 million people - two-thirds of the population - are in need of humanitarian aid.
Both Houthi rebels and Saudi coalition have been accused of committing war crimes.
Houthi missile marks Trump visit
The Houthi missile launch came just a day ahead of US President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia.
High on the agenda will be a series of US-Saudi security deals, with reports suggesting that the Trump administration is prepared to step up non-lethal support for the coalition.
US officials told the Associated Press news agency that the administration planned to announce a $110 billion arms and military training deal with Saudi Arabia. The move would mark a significant reversal in policy from former President Barack Obama, who curbed the US' role in the Yemeni conflict as civilian deaths began to spike.
dm/gsw (Reuters, AFP)
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TOP STORIES | 25.04.2017
Desperate situation in Yemen
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