Saudi air defenses intercepted at least four ballistic missiles launched by Houthi rebels at Riyadh, Najran and Jazan, and also destroyed eight explosives-laden drones, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported early on Tuesday.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the attacks targeted the Defense Ministry, a military base and intelligence and other locations in the three cities. The rebels also vowed to carry out more powerful strikes, according to their Al Masirah news channel. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis since 2015 to restore the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the rebels have attacked the kingdom with missiles and drones multiple times.
Efforts to propel peacemaking in Yemen have been complicated in recent months by infighting between forces loyal to Hadi’s internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council backed by the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi-led coalition has called on the sides to cease fire and implement a planned power-sharing deal that unraveled amid the fighting, a move that would not only ease the bloodshed in Yemen but also mend a rift between the kingdom and its top Gulf ally, the UAE.
The Yemen government has welcomed the Saudi cease-fire appeal. Earlier this week, a Hadi aide called the Saudi-led intervention in his country’s civil war a failure, the first time a senior Yemeni official has asserted that publicly. The conflict has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and burdened efforts to deal with a coronavirus outbreak.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators asked Secretary of State Michael Pompeo this month to pressure Saudi Arabia and Hadi to accept a United Nations push for a broad cease-fire and political talks to end the conflict.