Saudi Arabia intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles launched towards Makkah and Riyadh on Monday after the Yemeni rebels said they planned to strike at hundreds of Saudi and UAE targets.
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Yemen’s internationally recognised government condemned the rebel attack and accused Iran of ordering the strikes.
“The attempt to target Makkah will drag the region into a dangerous scenario. It also shows Iran’s full control over the rebels,” the government said in a statement.
“The attack on a Muslim holy site is a terror crime,” it said.
The rebels have launched scores of missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent years. Monday’s launches came a day after the Houthis’ Saba news agency quoted a rebel military source as saying they planned to strike 300 Saudi and UAE targets, including military headquarters and bases in both countries and their bases in Yemen.
Last week, the Saudi Arabia reported that armed drones struck two oil pumping stations, after the Houthi-run Masirah TV said the rebels had launched drone attacks on Saudi installations.
The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said last week that the reservoir of confidence for the Houthis was empty and their latest moves had done little to refill it.
Yemen is, he said, another example of how Tehran’s actions do not match its words.
Iran often says its ballistic missile programme is purely defensive, but Dr Gargash said the significant evidence of Iranian contribution to the Houthi missile programme showed this not to be the case.
The rebels, he said, did not have the technology two or three years ago to hit Saudi towns and cities, but now regularly launched attacks that damaged homes and killed civilians.
Meanwhile, forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognised government said they had captured an Al Qaeda leader in the south-western province of Taez.
The military said special forces arrested Bilal Muhammed Ali Al Wafi on Saturday in the mountain area of Habashi.
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