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Saudis Claim to Intercept 7 Missiles Fired at Cities From Yemen

The official Saudi Press Agency said all the missiles had been destroyed.

The missile attack came as the architect of the bombing campaign, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on a friendship visit to the United States, which has aided the Saudi military’s intervention in Yemen.

An earlier brief report on Al Arabiya had said that Patriot missile batteries operated by the Saudi Air Force in Riyadh had intercepted at least one incoming missile and that witnesses had reported “loud explosions and bright flashes in the sky.”

Saudis Claim to Intercept 7 Missiles Fired at Cities From Yemen
Saudis Claim to Intercept 7 Missiles Fired at Cities From Yemen

Debris from a Houthi-fired missile fired in November barely missed a passenger terminal at Riyadh’s international airport.

Amateur videos uploaded to YouTube appeared to show that at least one of the Patriot missiles fired on Sunday failed to hit its target, instead doing a U-turn and crashing with a huge flash on the ground.

An amateur video on YouTube, purporting to show a Patriot interceptor crashing to the ground.Video by قناة الرياض

The Houthis, who are supported by Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, have fired missiles into Saudi Arabia several times.

The Saudis and the Americans have accused Iran of violating a United Nations arms embargo by providing military weapons and supplies to the Houthis, including missiles. Iran has denied the accusation but has defended the missile launchings, calling them a justified response to devastating Saudi-led aerial attacks.

In their own account of the attack, the Houthis said they had fired at least three ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia.

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The Houthi account, carried by the Saba news agency in Yemen, also quoted the group’s leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, as saying in a speech that he would remain defiant to “Saudi-American aggression.”

The Saudi intervention in Yemen, which began on March 25, 2015, has helped cause what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, exacerbated by strict Saudi controls on shipping into the country.

Most people in Yemen need food urgently. The country has been upended by severe hunger and threats of famine, forced displacement and preventable diseases including cholera and diphtheria.

Video

How the Saudi Blockade Is Starving Yemen

Yemen is on the brink of famine. One of the poorest countries in the Middle East and riven by conflict, it is now practically sealed off from the world by a sea and air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia.

By YOUSUR AL-HLOU, CHRISTOPH KOETTL and MALACHY BROWNE on Publish Date December 19, 2017. . Watch in Times Video »

Geert Cappelaere, the Unicef director for the Middle East and North Africa, who just completed a weeklong visit to Yemen, said on Sunday that the country had one of the world’s highest numbers of acutely malnourished children.

“It is fair to say today that every single girl and boy in Yemen is facing acute humanitarian needs,” he said. “Three years of war, decades of chronic underdevelopment have done something for the children of Yemen — but unfortunately nothing good.”

Saeed Al-Batati reported from Al Mukalla, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Malachy Browne contributed reporting from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on March 26, 2018, on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: 7 Houthi Missiles Targeting Cities Are Blocked, Saudis Say. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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