DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted an apparent missile or drone attack over its capital, Riyadh, amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against neighboring Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh. Saudi state TV quoted authorities in the kingdom acknowledging the interception.
Yahia Sarei, a military spokesman for the Houthis, said in a brief statement that the rebels had not carried out attacks on Saudi Arabia in the past 24 hours. The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to Americans calling on them to “stay alert in case of additional future attacks.”
The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital and the north, where the majority of the population lives, since September 2014. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against them in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The war has been mired in a stalemate for years. Riyadh has been targeted in sporadic missile attacks in that time, while the Houthis also have launched missile and drone strikes. The Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international criticism for airstrikes that have killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and wedding parties.
Western experts, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. say Iran has supplied arms, including ballistic missiles, to the Houthis. Iran denies that, although devices in the weapons link back to Tehran.