.com with AFP | 10:23 am – September 5, 2021
Saudi authorities announced on Saturday that they had intercepted three ballistic missiles fired from neighboring Yemen and targeting the eastern province as well as the towns of Najran and Jazan in the south.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen told AFP it had intercepted the ballistic missile attacks, “as well as three trapped drones.” According to state television El-Ekhbariya, which also reported on the interception, the coalition pledged to take “strict measures” to protect civilians.
No casualties have been reported, but the attack comes four days after two drone strikes against Abha International Airport (south), which left eight people injured and were attributed to the Houthi rebels by official Saudi media. It also comes hours before the new United Nations envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, takes office on Sunday.
The authorities did not mention the specific location targeted in Orientale Province. On social media, users in Dammam reported hearing a loud explosion. Eastern Saudi Arabia is home to significant oil infrastructure. A previous attack in September 2019 temporarily halved the country’s oil production.
At the head of a military coalition since 2015, Saudi Arabia intervenes in Yemen alongside government forces against the rebels. It is regularly the target of missiles or drones launched by the Houthis, supported by Iran, rival of the Saudi kingdom. The conflict in Yemen has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions of people. It is, according to the UN, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The Houthis, who control the majority of northern Yemen and the capital Sana’a, are calling on Riyadh to end the air and sea blockade imposed on their country as a precondition for a ceasefire agreement.