Saudi-led forces thwart air attack on Riyadh - Saudi TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement said it had thwarted an attack towards the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Saturday, Saudi state television reported, but the Iran-aligned group denied any involvement.

The coalition intercepted and destroyed an “enemy air target”, state-run Al Ekhbariyah channel and Saudi-owned Al Hadath said on their Twitter accounts.

A military spokesman for the Houthi group, which has launched cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, said the movement had not carried out any operations against coalition countries over the past 24 hours.

A hitherto unknown group calling itself Alwiya Alwaad Alhaq, which roughly translates as ‘The True Promise Brigades’, issued a statement late on Saturday claiming responsibility via messaging platform Telegram. Reuters could not independently confirm its authenticity.

A coalition spokesman did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

On Friday, the Saudi-led coalition had said it foiled two Houthi attacks using an armed drone launched towards Saudi Arabia and an explosive-laden boat in the southern Red Sea.

The alliance intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa. The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

The movement was designated by the Trump administration this month as a foreign terrorist organisation. New U.S. President Joe Biden has initiated a review of the designation, which U.N. officials have warned could push Yemen into a large-scale famine and chill peace efforts.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh in Dubai and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Editing by Gareth Jones and Raissa Kasolowsky