With Trump en route, Yemen rebel missile shot down near Saudi capital

Donald Trump

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claim to have launched a ballistic missile towards Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

This is the third time in almost two months that Houthis claimed firing ballistic missiles on military targets in Saudi Arabia, but were all intercepted and destroyed without causing any casualties.

However, the official Saudi news agency SPA quoted a statement by Saudi-led coalition later Friday that it had intercepted and destroyed a Houthi missile in the southern Saudi province of Ar Rayn, about 200 km west of Riyadh.

What began as a largely domestic conflict has morphed into a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with neither side appearing prepared to lay down their arms.

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.

More news: US to announce $110 billion Saudi arms sale as Trump visits

JEDDAH: Saudi Air Defense Forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militias from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia Friday night, Arab Coalition command said.

After two years of fighting, the conflict has displaced 3 million people, left almost 8,000 dead and injured more than 42,000.

Both Houthi rebels and Saudi coalition have been accused of committing war crimes.

News of the alleged missile launch comes just hours before President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh as part of his first overseas trip as president. The coalition later stepped up its efforts with intense ground attacks.

Trump was expected to conclude important security and trade deals in his meetings with top Saudi officials in Riyadh. Some have hit civilian homes, causing deaths and destruction.

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