May 21, 2018 / 2:48 AM / in a month

Saudi air defenses destroy ballistic missile fired from Yemen

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi air defenses intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi movement over the southern city of Jazan, the Saudi-led coalition said on Monday.

Earlier, the Houthis said the group had fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at Jazan’s airport, without giving any further details.

The Houthis, an Iran-allied group that holds much of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa, have fired a series of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A U.S.-backed military alliance intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to fight against the Houthis on behalf of the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh. Iran and the Houthis dismiss Saudi accusations that Tehran arms the group.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said Saudi air defense forces destroyed the missile over Jazan and accused the Houthis of targeting residential areas, according to a report from the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Houthis have fired a salvo of missiles at Saudi Arabia in recent months, including the capital, Riyadh, while the coalition launched thousands of air strikes against Houthi-held areas, killing hundreds of civilians at hospitals, schools and markets.

Reporting by Nayera Abdullah; Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Paul Tait

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