Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says its forces have fired a ballistic missile towards the official residence of Saudi King Salman in the Saudi capital city, Riyadh, in retaliation for the regime’s deadly attacks, al-Masirah TV reported.
Mohammed Abdulsalam, a Houthi spokesman, said the Burkan (Volcano) H-2 missile, which has a range of 800 km, was fired toward al-Yamamah Palace in the western suburbs of the capital where the monarch receives visiting foreign dignitaries and top Saudi officials.
Yemen’s al-Masirah TV channel, citing military sources, said the missile targeted a large gathering of Saudi leaders without providing further details.
The Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen, however, claimed that the missile had been intercepted in southern Riyadh.
“Ballistic missile intercepted over Riyadh,” the coalition said in a statement.
Saudi media claim that that there have been no reports of damage so far.
Reuters reporters, however, say they have heard a blast and seen a plume of smoke rising above the Saudi capital.
An AFP correspondent also heard a loud explosion at 1050 GMT shortly before the scheduled unveiling of the Saudi budget, which is usually announced from Yamamah Palace by the king.
Al-Alam news network cited informed Yemeni sources as saying that the explosion took place 1.5 km away from the US embassy in Riyadh.
Deputy spokesman of the Yemeni army warned that after the Saudi-led coalition targeted the country’s presidential palace in the capital city of Sana’a on December 5, none of the Saudi palaces would be safe.
The missile unit of Yemen’s Defense Ministry also said that the missile attack targeted the meeting of Saudi officials at al-Yamamah Palace, adding that all the Saudi palaces as well as the kingdom’s military and oil facilities are completely within the range of Yemeni missiles.
It was the second Houthi missile attack against Riyadh over the past two months. The first attack targeted Riyadh international airport on November 4, but Riyadh claimed that it managed to intercept the projectile.
Contrary to the claim by the Saudi military, a report by The New York Times suggested that the ballistic missile was actually not intercepted.
The second missile attack on Riyadh came on the same day that the UN human rights office verified the killings of 136 Yemeni civilians and other non-combatants in the Saudi-led airstrikes over 11 days.
The UN human rights office spokesman, Rupert Colville, said the casualties occurred between December 6-16 in four northern provinces, stressing that UN officials are “deeply concerned” over the rising number of civilian casualties in the impoverished country.