While Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is away on business in the US, Houthis saw it opportunistic to launch several salvos into the capital Riyadh.
It’s as if to send a message to would-be investors the crown prince is wooing overseas that the Kingdom is not a safe place to do business.
It won’t work.
Nonetheless, the terror in the skies that Riyadh witnessed last night did claim a casualty: An Egyptian civil worker, according to Arab News
ABC news reported that Saudi Arabia claims to have shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi militia, with debris killing a man in what was the first death in the capital Riyadh during the Saudi-led coalition’s three-year military campaign in Yemen.
ABC said to others were reported injured as a result of the shrapnel.
The casualties were the first in the Saudi capital since the Yemen war began in 2015.
“Saudi forces destroyed three missiles over north-eastern Riyadh shortly before midnight, as well as others fired at the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait,” the coalition said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
“However, videos shared online appeared to show a Saudi defence missile veering off course and crashing into a residential neighbourhood, ABC said.
The US media reported that In the al-Malqa neighbourhood, emergency personnel gathered near a crater in the ground and inspected shattered glass in nearby homes.
“Iran’ s state-owned Press TV claimed that a missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen had targeted King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh but was intercepted,” said ABC.
“It also claimed airports in Abha, Najran and Jizan were also targeted by missiles fired from Yemen.”
Iran-Saudi tension elevated
Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s depiction of Iran as similar to a Nazi regime in an interview with 60 Minutes, describing Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei as “The new Hitler” has set the stage for a prolonged state of discord between the two nations.
Saudi Arabia has called Iran’s alleged supply of rockets to the Houthis “direct military aggression.”
The US has also displayed what it said were Iranian-made weapons supplied to the Houthis.
The recent Houthi attack will not soften the Saudi crown prince stance on Ira whom the kingdom blames for supporting the Shiite militia who seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa and forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi to flee.
The attacks marked the third time in five months that missiles have flown over Riyadh.
Houthi ballistic missiles have increased in range over time, with the first one targeting Riyadh fired in May last year, according to the United Nations.
According to CNN, between November and December of last year, the Saudi air force intercepted at least two missiles targeting its capital.
Yemeni rebels have continued targeting locations along the country’s border with Yemen.
On November 4, Yemeni rebels targeted an airport in Riyadh with a ballistic missile, according to Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry.
“The missile was intercepted over the city,” the Saudi Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
On December 19, the Saudi said it intercepted a ballistic missile south of Riyadh, according to Saudi state television station Al Ekhbariya.
The missile was headed to a residential area in the Saudi capital, before it was intercepted, Saudi Arabia’s official news agency reported.
“Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam said on his Twitter account that the rebels fired the Burqan 2H ballistic missile, targeting the prestigious Yamama Palace hotel in the Saudi capital. The Burqan missile is an Iranian-modified scud missile,” reported CNN.