* Attack could intensify Saudi-Iran rivalry
* Houthis say launch targeted Saudi leaders
* Saudis say it targeted residential areas
* Witnesses hear blast, see smoke
* Saudi-led coalition, Houthis fight in Yemen war
* Iran denies supplying missiles to Houthis
Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the capital Riyadh on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said, the latest attack by a Yemeni group that could escalate a proxy war between the kingdom and regional rival Tehran.
There was no immediate report of casualties or damages.
The Houthi movement said the missile targeted the royal court at al-Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way, describing the attack as a new chapter in the conflict.
The Saudi-led coalition said the missile was directed at residential areas and there were no damages, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
Quoting a statement from the coalition, SPA said Iranian- made missiles were a threat to regional and international security, and accused the Houthis of using humanitarian entry points to import missiles from Saudi Arabia's arch-foe Iran.
"Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time," the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.
Saudi palaces, military and oil facilities are within range of such missiles fired from Yemen, the Houthis said, according to a statement distributed via their television channel al-Masirah.
Thousands of air strikes
Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in struggle for influence in the Middle East. Riyadh is especially sensitive to the civil war in its backyard Yemen, a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced over two million.
The United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Saudi Arabia and part of the coalition, said the latest Houthi attack underscored the need to keep the military campaign in Yemen going.
"With every Iranian missile fired by the Houthi militia against civilian targets, the necessity of (Operation) Decisive Storm becomes clear," United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, wrote on his Twitter account.
A Saudi-backed coalition has launched thousands of air strikes against the Houthis and allied forces since intervening in the war on behalf of the government nominally based in Aden.
The Houthis for their part have fired several missiles at the kingdom, mostly in the south since 2015, but not caused any serious damage, in their bid to pressure Saudi Arabia, a strategic US ally and the world's biggest oil exporter.
Tuesday's attack took place hours before Saudi Arabia was due to announce the country's annual budget in a news conference expected to be attended by senior ministers.
A blast, and then smoke
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Another Iraqi activist killed as UN accuses ‘militias’
US imposes new sanctions on Iran airline over proliferation
Ethiopia PM collects Nobel Prize and urges unity against hatred
Protests, blasts hit Iraq’s south as demos continue
160 Palestinian cars vandalised
Lebanese protesters throw trash at politicians’ houses in Tripoli
Iraqis rally against govt as Western envoys summoned
Hariri re-emerges as PM candidate
Two Palestinians injured after air strike in Gaza