Saudi Arabia said that Yemen, backed by Iranian Houthi rebels had fired seven missiles over them on Sunday. This is reported to be the first death in Saudi Arabia ever since the Saudi led coalition began the military interventions in Yemen around three years ago.
The missiles targeted at four places, the capital city of Riyadh being one of them. Col, Turki al-Maliki in a statement said that due to the missiles the four targeted cities were ‘intercepted and destroyed’. An Egyptian resident also died due to the interception of the missiles. He said, “These hostile acts continue to pose a direct threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and threaten regional, as well as international, security”.
Another statement by Houthi Ministry of Defence reported that seven different targets were attacked by the missiles, which included four airports too. After the missile stroked the regions, many citizens came out onto the streets of Sanaa in order to take part in demonstration which also marked the third anniversary of the intervention against Houthi rebels. In the demonstration, one of the demonstrators and Houthi leader Saleh-al- Sammad instructed the Saudis to stop the airstrikes, and then the missile attacks would stop too.
Ever since the interception, Yemen has attacked Saudi Arabia with missiles quite a number of times, and even Saudis countered their missile attacks by airstrikes over Sanaa. However, this time the response is expected to be fiercer than those of previous ones.
Target of the missiles
Three of the seven missiles targeted Riyadh, while one aimed the southwest in Khamis Mushait. Another missile was targeted at Narjan, along the southern border, and two were aimed at southern city of Jizan. This was reported by the Saudi officials.
The Saudi news released a number of videos on their respective YouTube channels which showed illuminated night sky due to the missile strikes, while another news channels showed the residents running towards the highway in order to get away from the missile strikes.
The Yemeni government blamed the Iranians for the missile attacks. Yemeni government has been at a continuous struggle with Houthi militia along the Northern border. In a statement on Sanaa Net, news agency, the Yemeni government said, “While the Yemeni government expresses its strong condemnation of this criminal and terrorist act of Iran and its tools represented by the Houthi militia, the government also praised the high efficiency and capabilities of the Saudi Air Defense Forces in intercepting and destroying Iran’s ballistic missiles.”
The US government also strongly criticised the missile attacks by the Houthis on Sunday and it said that it “supported “the right of our Saudi partners to defend their borders against these threats.” Two missiles were also intercepted by Saudi Arabia which attacked its capital between November to December last year. The Yemen border have always been targeted by the Yemeni rebels.
The condition in Yemen
The Yemen war began in year 2015 when the Houthi rebels, a small Shia group from the northern region of the country threw out the government which was supported by US and led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour. They overthrew the US backed government and captured Sanaa.
The small crisis took the form of a war within no time which involved many sides. During the struggle, terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS also rose in power and emerged out stronger.
Iran backs the Houthis, and the members of Houthi follow Zaidism, one of the Shia Islamic cults. One thirds of the populations of Yemen are formed by the Zaidis. The northern part of Yemen has been ruled by the Zaidis for over 1000 years, ever since 1962.
Back in 2015, the raids led by Saudis were started by the Saudi Arabian groups as the support to the government of Hadi.
The involvement of Iran
The Iran government has been blamed by Saudis in charge of supplying illegal weapons to the rebels. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant and political group in Iran was blamed by the Saudi Arabians for the missile strike of 4th November. The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia accused the group for illegally smuggling the missile parts within Yemen.
Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia told CNN, “Operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah helped put it back together again and launch it”.
He added, “This is a very, very hostile act. We have been extending our hand to Iran since 1979 in friendship, and what we get back is death and destruction.”
Iran also countered the claims of Saudi Arabia regarding the involvement of Tehran, and the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi in a statement said and further added the claims made by Saudi Arabia to be “false, irresponsible, destructive and provocative,” as reported by Tasnim, the Iranian news agency.