BEIRUT, Lebanon — Rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile on Tuesday at Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, for a second time in two months, although Saudi officials said that it had been intercepted and that there were no casualties.
About midday, a huge boom startled a lot of in Riyadh, such as customers at a cafe in the center of the city, exactly where many ran outdoors to see a puff of gray smoke in the sky and black smoke increasing from the ground nearby, presumably from the launch web site of the defense systems.
The Saudis are at the forefront of a coalition that has been waging a bombing campaign in Yemen for two and a half years against the rebels, recognized as the Houthis, that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis that United Nations officials contemplate among the worst in the globe.
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of backing the Houthis with weapons and expertise, concerns shared by the United States government, and the Saudis stated on Tuesday that they had been targeted by an “Iranian-Houthi missile.”
A spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition stated the missile had been aimed at residential places and had been intercepted “without any casualties,” according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The spokesman, Turki al-Maliki, referred to as the possession of such weapons by militant groups like the Houthis “a threat to regional and international security.”
The Houthis acknowledged firing the missile but stated the target had been a palace of King Salman, the Saudi monarch, according to their television station, Al Masirah.
The attack came hours prior to King Salman was to lead a ceremony to announce the kingdom’s 2018 spending budget, and the timing suggested that the Houthis were trying to spread fear in the capital and draw focus away from the Saudi leadership’s plans for governance and improvement.
The war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Houthis allied with parts of the Yemeni armed forces and seized considerably of the country’s northwest, such as the capital, Sana, later forcing the government into exile. In 2015, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states began a bombing campaign aimed at pushing the Houthis back and restoring the internationally recognized Yemeni government.
Throughout the war, the Houthis and their allies have targeted communities along the Yemen-Saudi border with missiles and other projectiles, but they appear to be expanding their range.
The Houthis fired a missile at Riyadh’s international airport on Nov. 4. Saudi officials stated their missile defenses had brought it down, but an investigation by The New York Times found that the missile had hit close to its target and that it was unclear no matter whether the body of the projectile had been struck.
Final week, Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, stood in front of what United States officials said have been Iranian-produced missiles, which includes the one that was fired at Riyadh’s international airport in November. But Defense Division officials stated they doubted that the remnants on show validated Ms. Haley’s claims.
Seizing on the Tuesday missile strike, Ms. Haley pressed her accusations against Iran at a United Nations Security Council meeting. “While we don’t but have sufficient insight into this distinct attack, it bears all the hallmarks of earlier attacks using Iranian-offered weapons,” she told the Council. “If we do not do something, we will miss the chance to prevent further violence from Iran.”
Ms. Haley proposed actions that could contain a new Security Council resolution prohibiting Iran from all ballistic missile activities, or attainable sanctions against Iran for offering weapons to the Houthis.
But her proposals have been probably to meet hard resistance in the Security Council, particularly from Russia and China, which each have veto power.
Iranian officials have dismissed Ms. Haley’s accusations, likening them to the Bush administration’s false claims against Iraq in the prelude to the 2003 American-led invasion.
The strike on Tuesday came amid an improve in violence in Yemen, right after the death on Dec. four of Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former president who had allied with the Houthis and brought allied military units with him.
Shortly after Mr. Saleh had recommended the possibility of turning a “new page” with Saudi Arabia, the Houthis killed him and some of his aides in an attack on their convoy.
United Nations officials mentioned on Tuesday that airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition had killed scores of civilians considering that Mr. Saleh’s death, and they voiced alarm at the humanitarian impact in Yemen of Saudi restrictions on imports to the nation.
With Yemen grappling with health emergencies and the risk of famine, the United Nations mentioned it had verified the deaths of at least 136 civilians in airstrikes on Sana and on a number of other places from Dec. 6 to Dec. 16, according to Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations human rights workplace in Geneva.
The heaviest casualties occurred when coalition aircraft bombed a military police compound in Sana, hitting a prison creating and killing at least 45 folks.
The victims of that strike had been all reportedly captive members of forces loyal to the Saudi-backed president in exile, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The United Nations also expressed concern about Houthi attacks on members of Mr. Saleh’s political celebration, which includes reports of summary killings and detentions of men and women affiliated with it.
Verifying these incidents was difficult, the United Nations mentioned, since witnesses had been afraid of Houthi retaliation if they spoke out.
Nevertheless, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in that period of December accounted for the overwhelming majority of the civilian casualties, as they have all through the war, Mr. Colville mentioned.
In a one particular-week period up to Dec. 14, coalition airstrikes killed 93 civilians, whilst military action by Houthi forces had killed 3 men and women, he said.
International aid agencies are increasingly expressing worries about obstacles to the delivery of fuel and aid brought on by the tight blockade Saudi Arabia imposed on Yemen right after the 1st missile attack.
The blockade was eased in response to international pressure, and some shipments of meals and medicine have been unloaded, but United Nations officials say the obstruction of industrial supplies is driving the nation deeper into what is already 1 of the world’s most acute humanitarian disasters.
Shortages of fuel in specific are deepening the health crisis in a nation suffering via the worst cholera outbreak in modern day history, affecting close to a million folks and resulting in two,225 deaths. Help agencies say nearly 400,000 children suffering severe acute malnutrition are fighting for their lives.
Water pumping stations serving over three million people in 14 cities are now running out of fuel and protected drinking water, which are critical for tackling cholera and malnutrition but unaffordable for two-thirds of Yemen’s population, said Christophe Boulierac, a spokesman for the United Nations children’s agency.
Additionally, fuel shortages threaten to close down cold retailers in 22 governorates, Mr. Boulierac added, risking harm to vaccines required for thousands of youngsters and worth millions of dollars.
Published at Tue, 19 Dec 2017 23:40:04 +0000