Saudi artillerymen at the border with Yemen fire at Houthi positions.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Residents in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, reported hearing a big roar as a Scud missile was launched from near the city by Yemeni army forces allied with the Houthis on Wednesday.
Brig.-Gen. Sharaf Luqman, a spokesman for the Yemeni forces fighting alongside the Houthi rebel forces, said the missile was aimed at an electricity station in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan province.
The strike was “a response to the brutal Saudi aggression on Yemen,” he told Saba, Yemen’s Houthi-controlled state news agency.
The Saudi military responded that it intercepted the missile, averting any damage, and directed air attacks against the source of fire in Yemen.
A day earlier, Yemen’s army chief claimed that Iranian and Hezbollah experts were captured while supporting the Houthis. Others of Syrian nationality who were working alongside the Houthis were also captured, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Ali al-Maqdeshi was quoted as saying by the London-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia led an Arab military intervention against the Houthis beginning on March 26 to restore the Yemeni government ousted by the group and fend off what it sees as the creeping influence of the Shi’ite group’s main ally, Iran.
The Houthis say their rise to power is a revolution against corrupt officials beholden to Saudi Arabia and the West.
A powerful Cold War-era weapon, the Scud had been launched at Saudi Arabia by Yemeni forces twice before during the five-month war but was shot down by American-provided Patriot missiles both times.
Two Saudi soldiers and a brigadier general were killed this week in border fighting along the kingdom’s long frontier with northern Yemen, a heartland of the Houthis.
Saba reported that Saudi-led war planes launched more than 100 air strikes against the group’s main base of support in Saada province on Tuesday alone. The report could not be immediately confirmed.
Human Rights Watch said in June that months of air attacks on Saada had hit markets and homes, killing dozens of Yemeni civilians and possibly violating the laws of war.