عربي | كوردى



Saudi Arabia says it intercepted Houthi missiles in Mecca province

Saudi Arabia says it intercepted Houthi missiles in Mecca province

2019/05/21 | 01:45

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it had intercepted two

missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier

denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site, Reuters reported.The foiled strike comes at a time of heightened tensions

between Tehran and Gulf Arab states and a roughly four-year conflict in Yemen

largely seen as a proxy war between the two sides.Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a

Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states that intervened in Yemen in

2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from

power in Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.A Saudi coalition spokesman said, “Royal Saudi Defence

Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces

of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation,” according

to Saudi’s state news agency SPA.In a tweet, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington said the

two missiles had been intercepted in Mecca province, which includes Jeddah and

Taif.Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, citing eyewitnesses, reported

earlier on Monday that air defense forces had intercepted two ballistic

missiles above the two western cities of Jeddah and Taif and said the first one

had been directed toward Mecca, without providing evidence.The Houthis denied that their missiles were targeting Mecca,

a pilgrimage site roughly 70 km (40 miles) from Jeddah and 50 km (30 miles)

from Taif. The group called the claim a tactic by Saudi Arabia to rally support

for its war.“The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to

rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people,” Houthi

military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Facebook.More than two million Muslims from around the world make the

annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Many also visit the city during the holy month

of Ramadan, which is underway.Riyadh has accused Iran of ordering last week’s drone

strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, for which the Houthis

claimed responsibility. Tehran denied doing so.Washington and Tehran have been sparring over sanctions and

the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential

conflict between the United States and Iran.On Sunday, the Houthi-run SABA news agency said the group

would start military operations against 300 vital military targets, including

headquarters and facilities, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and coalition targets

inside Yemen.Yemen’s conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war

between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but the Houthis deny being Iranian puppets and

say they are waging a revolution against corruption.The strikes on Aramco pumping stations came two days after

attacks on vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the UAE,

which no one has claimed responsibility for.The UAE has not blamed anyone pending an investigation. Two

US government sources said last week that US officials believed Iran encouraged

the Houthis or Iraq-based Shiite Muslim militias to carry out the attacks.The Houthis have repeatedly targeted Saudi cities and oil

installations with missiles and drones, mostly n border areas. Twice, in 2016

and 2017, the coalition said the group had launched a missile toward Mecca, but

the movement said it was targeting nearby airports.











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