A Scud missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite rebels into Saudi Arabia was shot down by the Sunni kingdom early Saturday, the country’s official news agency reported. It is reportedly the first use of missile in the war between Saudi forces and Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
The missile, which was launched in the direction of the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait, was intercepted by a Patriot missile battery, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, according to the Associated Press (AP). The agency reportedly blamed the attack on the rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in March in conjunction with an ongoing battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the control for the region.
Houthi fighters captured the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in September and seized the presidential palace in January, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. The conflict has claimed over 2,000 lives. The Saudi-led coalition against the rebels seeks to restore the government of Hadi. But the offensive has so far failed to force the rebels to curb their advances in southern Yemen or withdraw from any territory they hold.
On Friday, the Houthis and Saleh's forces launched a ground offensive targeting the Saudi border, the Saudi Press Agency reported, according to the AP. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reportedly described the fighting as the "largest attack" by Houthi forces and Yemen's republican guard, a unit close to Saleh. On Saturday, four Saudi soldiers and dozens of Houthi rebels were killed in an offensive near the border, France 24 reported.