Yemen's Houthis say fire ballistic missile toward Saudi capital




  • In World
  • 2017-05-19 20:53:17Z
  • By Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen's Houthi movement said on Friday it had fired a ballistic missile toward the Saudi capital Riyadh and the Arab coalition waging war in Yemen said it had intercepted and destroyed a projectile around 200 km (120 miles) west of the city.

The incident occurred a day before U.S. President Donald Trump was expected in Riyadh at the start of his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

The Iran-allied Houthis launched a Burkan-1 missile toward Riyadh, a statement by their official news agency said. It Riyadh but gave no further detail.

The Saudi-led coalition said later it had downed a Houthi missile in the southern Saudi province of Ar Rayn well to the west of Riyadh. The area is open desert and there were no casualties, the official Saudi news agency SPA said.

Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV said the Arab coalition that intervened in Yemen's civil war against the Houthis in 2015 were "massively" bombing a missile base outside the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthis.

Trump was expected to conclude important security and trade deals in his meetings with top Saudi officials in Riyadh.

The Trump administration is considering stepping up non-lethal support, such as intelligence, for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, reversing a policy by ex-President Barack Obama who curbed the U.S. role due to mounting civilian deaths.

Fearing a spread of Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula, Gulf Arab countries are fighting to end Houthi control over most of Yemen's main population centres and restore its internationally recognized government to power.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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