Blast shakes Riyadh three days after projectile intercepted

Saudi Arabia has come under repeated missile or drone attack from Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.
Saudi Arabia has come under repeated missile or drone attack from Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.PHOTO: AFP

RIYADH (AFP) - At least one loud explosion shook Riyadh on Tuesday (Jan 26), AFP correspondents reported, three days after the kingdom intercepted a projectile over the Saudi capital.

There was no immediate reaction from authorities in Saudi Arabia, which has come under repeated missile or drone attack from Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.

An explosion rattled windows across the Saudi capital at around 1pm, AFP correspondents and residents said.

Some residents reported hearing two blasts on social media.

On Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition, which backs Yemen's internationally recognised government against the Houthis, said it had intercepted and destroyed a "hostile air target" heading towards Riyadh, state television reported.

The brief statement did not identify the source of the target and the Houthis said they were not involved.

Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport said there were a number of flight delays following Saturday's incident.

Saudi Arabia has led a military intervention against the Houthis since 2015 and has repeatedly been targeted with cross-border attacks.

It is rare, however, for drones or missiles launched by the Houthis to reach the kingdom's capital - about 700km from the border.

The incident comes only days after Joe Biden was sworn in as US president, replacing Donald Trump.

On Monday, the new administration froze sanctions on dealings with the Houthis for one month as it reviews a terror blacklisting imposed under Mr Trump that aid groups warn will aggravate a humanitarian crisis.

Relief groups say they have no alternative but to deal with the rebels, who control much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.