Air Defenses Intercept Houthi Missile Fired at Royal Palace

Staff writer, SF

The Saudi government reported today that Yemen’s Houthi rebels have fired another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia. Once again, the missile was successfully intercepted today by Saudi air defenses. According to the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, this occurred south of the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

“There are no reported casualties at this time,” the ministry added.

Houthi-affiliated TV al-Masirah said that the ballistic missile targeted the al-Yamamah royal palace in Riyadh. The palace is the official headquarters of the Saudi king.

A Bloomberg News reporter tweeted that she heard a loud boom in central Riyadh, social media has shown unconfirmed videos of white smoke in the sky.

Over the past two months three missiles have been intercepted, the Saudis say. Saudi air defenses intercepted missiles fired by the Houthis on December 1st and November 4th, as reported by Saudi state media, SPA.

This most recent launch comes days after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley held a news conference at a military hangar to show off pieces of Iranian-made Qiam missiles she said were supplied to Houthis. Standing in front of charred remnants of missiles she said were recovered from Saudi Arabia, she said, “In this warehouse is concrete evidence of illegal Iranian weapons proliferation gathered by direct military attacks on our partners in the regime.” She added, “These are Iranian made, these are Iranian sent, and these were Iranian given,” describing it as evidence Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.

One of the exhibits included charred fragments of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made, short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen November 4th.

Royal Air Force spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, told SPA the December 1st missile was likely headed to the Saudi city of Khamis Mushait but it was successfully intercepted. On November 4th, a ballistic missile was launched from across the border toward Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. At the time, Saudi accused Iran of committing “an act of war.” Maliki said the “control of these types of weapons by terrorist organizations, including Al-Houthi armed militias, represents a threat to regional and international security.” He called the launch “contrary to international humanitarian law.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister told CNN “operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah” smuggled missile parts into Yemen.

Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir told the cable network, “This is a very, very hostile act. We have been extending our hand to Iran since 1979 in friendship, and what we get back is death and destruction.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, said the Saudi accusations were “false, irresponsible, destructive and provocative,” Iranian news agency Tasnim reported.

Defense officials could not say exactly when the weapons were given to the Houthis, The New York Times reported last week, which means they could have been transferred prior to U.N. resolution 2231. This U.N. resolution bars Iran from moving certain weapons outside the country without permission.

Iranian spokesman at the U.N., Alireza Miryousefi, said the evidence Haley presented was fabricated. “We categorically reject it as unfounded and, at the same time, irresponsible, provocative and destructive,” he said. “This purported evidence, put on public display today, is as much fabricated as the one presented on some other occasions earlier.”