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Saudis shoot down missile over Riyadh

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Via Financial Times

Saudi air defences shot down a missile fired at the kingdom’s capital Riyadh, state television reported, citing the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Residents in the city said they heard loud booms late Saturday night as the missile was destroyed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Saudi state-owned media accused Iran-backed Houthi rebels of being behind it.

Houthis have previously launched hundreds of missiles and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia. The majority of these attacks targeted bases and towns across the border, but some missiles also reached major cities in other parts of the kingdom.

The most recent attack came on Friday when the coalition announced it had destroyed several Houthi drones over the southwestern Saudi cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait.

The Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation in Yemen in May 2015 with the goal of restoring the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into exile after Houthis ousted him in 2014.

The ballistic missile launch comes days after Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a ceasefire sponsored by the United Nations, with the hope of protecting the Arab world’s poorest country from the threat of coronavirus as the conflict marked its fifth anniversary.

A spokesman for the coalition called for de-escalation and practical steps in “alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people and working earnestly to confront the threats of the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a statement released Wednesday.

No cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country so far.

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The World Health Organisation said last week that it has sent medical supplies to Yemen, including personal protective items for health workers and testing kits to the Houthi-held capital of Sana’a and the southern port city of Aden where the Hadi government is based.

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