Saudis say shoot down Yemeni missile aimed at oil installations

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi air defense systems shot down a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, state media reported, which the Yemeni army said it had aimed at oil installations in the south of the kingdom.

Warring parties in Yemen, where forces in a Saudi-led Arab coalition are trying to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power, agreed a renewable seven-day ceasefire under United Nations auspices that started on Dec. 15.

But the truce has been repeatedly violated. Since it broke out in March, the conflict has killed nearly 6,000 people.

The missile, fired late on Monday night, was intercepted on a trajectory towards the Saudi city of Jizan, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA quoted a coalition spokesman as saying.

Quoting a Yemeni army spokesman, Yemen’s Houthi-run Saba news agency said the missile was directed at the Saudi Aramco oil company’s compound in Jizan and had “hit its target accurately”.

Saba is run by Yemen’s dominant Houthi group, which is allied to the country’s army.

A source in Jizan said there was no sign of any attack in Jizan Economic City, where a refinery and oil terminal are under construction, some 80 km (50 miles) north of the city of Jizan and about 150 km from the border with Yemen.

Saudi Aramco said all its facilities in the area were “in safe and normal operations”.

The Houthis said the Yemeni army loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has fired six ballistic missiles in the past two days towards Saudi Arabia and areas in Yemen held by the Saudi-led coalition.

The coalition is trying to roll back gains made by the Houthis since they seized the capital Sanaa in September 2014.

The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen has set up a mechanism to strengthen compliance with the ceasefire, a U.N. statement said earlier this week.

U.N. sponsored peace talks are due to resume on Jan. 14.

Reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and John Stonestreet