Ballistic Missile Fired by Houthi Rebels Showers Arab Capital with Debris.
Houthi rebels inside Yemen have claimed responsibility for a short range ballistic missile attack against the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Nov. 4. An announcement made on social media from Houthi rebels inside Yemen claimed that King Khalid International Airport was the intended target for the missile strike on Saturday night.
The Houthi ballistic missile, a Burkan H-2 according to media sources across the Middle East, is a mobile short-range ballistic missile armed with a conventional 500-kilogram warhead. In some variants, the missile can carry a nuclear warhead. The missile is roughly similar to the Scud missiles used by Iraq during the Gulf wars.
The Burkan H-2 was intercepted by a Saudi anti-missile defense system, likely a U.S. supplied Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot anti-missile system. The Saudis also employ the Raytheon Improved Hawk air defense system, primarily for defense against aircraft. The Saudis have new THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense) anti-missile systems on order from the U.S. but have not yet received the more advanced system.
The following video allegedly shows the anti-missile defense system at work during the attack.
According to information published on Al Arabiya, an official spokesman for the coalition forces in support of legitimacy inside Yemen, the anti-Houthi government of Yemen, Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that, “At 8:07 pm local time a rocket was fired from within the territory of Yemen towards the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
In the official Yemeni government media statement made Saturday Colonel al-Maliki went on to say, “The rocket was aimed at the capital of Riyadh and was launched indiscriminately and absurdly to target the civilian and populated areas, where it was intercepted and the fragments fell in an uninhabited area east of King Khalid International Airport.”
The official Yemeni government has been at war with the Houthi rebellion inside Yemen since June 2004. The Houthi ballistic missile attack against Saudi Arabia from inside a rebel controlled area of Yemen is in retaliation for Saudi support of the Yemeni government. The Saudi support of the Yemeni government began in 2015.
On October 27, 2017, the Houthi’s claimed to have shot down a Royal Saudi Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon multirole aircraft over the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a. It was the second time the Saudis lost a Typhoon over Yemen during Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthis inside Yemen.
Arab news outlets report a similar missile strike was launched from Houthi controlled territory toward Saudi Arabia on October 30. The missile fell far short of its intended target in Saudi Arabia, landing inside Yemen after a possible malfunction.
Al Masirah, a TV network run by the Houthi rebels, also claimed responsibility for the attack on their social media account.
Top image: combo from Social Media posts (via Arab News)