Saudi Arabia shoots down ballistic missile fired from Yemen near Mecca

Yemeni women shout slogans during a rally against Saudi-led military operations in the country, in Sana'a, Yemen, on Oct 25, 2016.
Yemeni women shout slogans during a rally against Saudi-led military operations in the country, in Sana'a, Yemen, on Oct 25, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

RIYADH (AFP) - Yemeni rebels have launched one of their longest-range strikes against Saudi Arabia, firing a ballistic missile that was shot down near Mecca, the Saudi-led coalition fighting them said on Friday (Oct 28).

The coalition has been carrying out a bombing campaign against the rebels since March last year and there have been strikes towards the bases from which the raids have been mounted.

Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missiles to intercept the rebel fire.

Houthi rebels launched the missile "toward the Mecca area" on Thursday (Oct 27) evening from their Saada province stronghold just across the border, a coalition statement said.

"The air defence was able to intercept and destroyed it about 65 kilometres from Mecca without any damage."

The rebels' sabanews website said they fired a ballistic missile towards King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, west of Mecca.

Mecca lies more than 500km from the border.

It is the second time this month that the rebels have fired a missile of that range.

On October 9, the coalition said it had intercepted a missile near Taif, the site of a Saudi airbase some 65km from Mecca.

That launch came the day after a coalition air strike killed more than 140 people attending a wake for the father of a rebel leader in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, prompting threats of revenge.

In a separate incident on Thursday, rebel fire hit a two-storey residential building in the Saudi border district of Jazan but there were no casualties, the civil defence agency said.