Saudi Arabia intercepts missiles, drones from Yemen

18 2018 shows a Yemeni child walking in the rubble of a building that was destroyed in an air strike in the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz

Yemen´s armed Houthi movement said on Wednesday it had launched a drone strike on a facility belonging to oil giant Saudi Aramco in southern Saudi Arabia -though the company said its plants there were operating "normally and safely".

The attack on Wednesday marked the fourth time in five months that missiles have flown over Riyadh, as the Houthis step up efforts to demonstrate they can reach the Saudi capital, and threatens to escalate a regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Al Arabiya said earlier that Saudi air defense forces had intercepted a missile over Riyadh after at least three blasts were heard in the capital, which has previously been targeted by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The news agency said that Saudi Aramco was building a refinery in Jizan planned to produce 400,000 barrels of oil a day from 2019. That same year in June, 17 Sudanese soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded at Midi of Hajjah province, in north-west Yemen. There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

The Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen meanwhile said its air defences had shot down two unmanned Yemeni drones in the south of the country.

Saudi Arabia and an alliance of Muslim states intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015 to try and push back the Houthis after they drove the internationally-recognized government into exile in Riyadh.

The United Nations says 10,000 people have died in the three-year-old war, and three out of four Yemenis - 22 million civilians - need relief aid.

According to a 2017 report by Conflict Armament Research, the Qasef-1 is "consistent with descriptions and imagery" of an Iranian drone, the Ababil-T.

Gen. Abdul Karim al-Sinani and the Joint Operations Command of the Arab coalition on Wednesday took part in the victory festivities in the districts of Midi which were liberated from Houthi militias.

Al-Masirah said the Houthis had also launched an attack with the same model of drone on the airport of Abha in neighbouring Asir province.

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