Saudi air defences destroy ballistic missile fired from Yemen

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Saudi air defences intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi movement over the southern city of Jazan, the Saudi-led coalition said on Monday (May 21).

Earlier, the Houthis said the group had fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at Jazan's airport, without giving any further details.

The Houthis, an Iran-allied group that holds much of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa, have fired a series of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict in Yemen widely seen as a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A US-backed military alliance intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015 to fight against the Houthis on behalf of the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh.

Iran and the Houthis dismiss Saudi accusations that Teheran arms the group.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said Saudi air defence forces destroyed the missile over Jazan and accused the Houthis of targeting residential areas, according to a report from the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Houthis have fired a salvo of missiles at Saudi Arabia in recent months, including the capital, Riyadh, while the coalition launched thousands of air strikes against Houthi-held areas, killing hundreds of civilians at hospitals, schools and markets.