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Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile near Yemen border

By
Susan McFarland
Yemen's Houthi rebels shout slogans and brandish weapons during an anti-Saudi gathering to mobilize more fighters into several battlefronts. On Friday, the group claims to have fired a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia, which the government said was intercepted and destroyed. Photo by Yahya Arhad/EPA
Yemen's Houthi rebels shout slogans and brandish weapons during an anti-Saudi gathering to mobilize more fighters into several battlefronts. On Friday, the group claims to have fired a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia, which the government said was intercepted and destroyed. Photo by Yahya Arhad/EPA

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A ballistic missile fired toward Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels was intercepted and destroyed by Saudi defense forces, according to a government statement.

The missile was intercepted over Najran, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia near the Yemen border.

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"The missile was deliberately launched toward Najran to target civilian areas and population, but it was intercepted and destroyed," according to the statement. "The scattered fragments objection of the missile caused a minor damage to private property of one citizen and no loss of life."

The group claiming to have launched the attack said in a Twitter statement it was a "successful launch of a short range ballistic missile at a military target in Saudi Arabia," according to a television network run by the Houthi rebels.

Houthi rebels, who represent the country's Zaidi Shiite Muslim minority, have fought the Yemeni government periodically since 2004.

The conflict exploded in 2014 and 2015, when rebels, along with supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, entered the capital of Sanaa and forced President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to the port city of Aden.

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In November, the Saudi government said it had intercepted a Houthi-launched missile intended to strike the international airport in its capital city of Riyadh.

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