Missile attacks ramp up war
28 March, 2018, 12:00 am
RIYADH/SANAA – The Houthi movement that controls northern Yemen vowed on Monday to fire more missiles into Saudi Arabia unless it stops bombing the country, after one of its missiles caused casualties in the Saudi capital for the first time.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis accused them of using Iranian-made missiles.
Spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the coalition reserved the right to respond to Iran “at the appropriate time and manner”, under international law and within the framework of the United Nations, to protect Saudi Arabia.
The incident threatens to sharply escalate a war that has already unleashed what the United Nations considers the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis. Millions of Yemenis live under threat of mass starvation and disease, at the mercy of combatants who have sometimes cut off food and medical supplies.
Saudi forces said they shot down three missiles over Riyadh shortly before midnight. Debris fell on a home in the capital, killing an Egyptian man and wounding two others.
Air defences also repelled missiles fired at the southern Saudi cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said.
The attacks stripped away the sense of calm in Riyadh, a city which until recent months had never quite felt at war.
A Houthi leader hailed the attack, which took place as Yemen marked the third anniversary of the start of the war.
“We praise the successful advance of military capabilities,” Houthi political council chief Saleh al-Samad told tens of thousands of supporters in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
“If they want peace, as we have said to them before, stop your air strikes and we will stop our missiles,” he said. “If you continue your air strikes, we have a right to defend ourselves by all means available.”