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Houthi fighters attend the funeral of fellow combatants who were killed during the recent clashes in Sanaa on December 7.
Houthi fighters attend the funeral of fellow combatants who were killed during the recent clashes in Sanaa on December 7.

Yemen Fighters Fire Ballistic Missile on Saudi Capital

Yemen’s Houthi fighters have been firing missiles in retaliatory attacks against Saudi targets every now and then. They say this is in retaliation for the systematic bombing of Houthi civilian positions by Saudi and UAE aircraft in which thousands of wome

Yemen Fighters Fire Ballistic Missile on Saudi Capital

The US-backed Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen has said it intercepted a ballistic missile south of Riyadh on Tuesday, according to Saudi state television station Al Ekhbariya. The missile did not cause any damage.
A Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdul Salam said on his Twitter account that the rebels fired the Burkan 2H ballistic missile, targeting the prestigious Yamama Palace hotel in the Saudi capital, CNN reported.
Al Masirah TV, a Houthi-controlled TV station, reported that a large meeting at the hotel was the target of the missile.
According to Reuters, a royal family member appeared to confirm the missile was aimed at a royal palace meeting.
“Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time,” the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.
The attack happened hours before Saudi Arabia was due to announce the country’s annual budget in a news conference expected to be attended by senior ministers.
Reuters witnesses described hearing a blast and said they saw smoke in the northeast of Riyadh.
Last month, Saudi Arabia's Defense Ministry said it intercepted a Houthi missile over the Saudi capital. The Houthi-run defense ministry claimed responsibility for that attack.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of states against the Houthi rebels, who toppled Yemen's internationally recognized government in 2015.
Yemen’s Houthi fighters have been firing missiles in retaliatory attacks against Saudi targets every now and then. They say this is in retaliation for the systemic bombing of Houthi civilian positions by Saudi and UAE jets in which thousands of women and children have been killed. One such Houthi missile was intercepted over Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport on Nov. 4.
Saudi and US officials claim the missile was Iranian made. Iran has denied supplying such weaponry to the Houthis, describing the US-Saudi accusation as "fabricated".
***Airstrikes Kill 136 Civilians
Meanwhile, the UN human rights spokesman said on Tuesday that airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen have killed at least 136 civilians and non-combatants since Dec. 6, Reuters reported.
Other UN officials said the coalition was maintaining tight restrictions on ships reaching Yemen even though 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine with the country relying on imports for the bulk of its food, fuel and medicine.
“We are deeply concerned at the recent surge in civilian casualties in Yemen as a result of intensified airstrikes by the ... coalition, following the killing of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Dec. 4,” human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing.
Incidents verified by the UN human rights office included seven airstrikes on a prison in the Shaub district of Sanaa on Dec. 13 that killed at least 45 detainees thought to be loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia.
“One can assume that was a mistake, they weren’t intending to kill prisoners from their own side,” Colville said. “It’s an illustration of lack of due precaution.”
Other airstrikes killed 14 children and six adults in a farmhouse in Hodeidah Governorate on Dec. 15, as well as a woman and nine children returning from a wedding party in Marib Governorate on Dec. 16, he said.
Airstrikes verified by the UN rights office in Sanaa, Saada, Hodeidah and Taiz governorates also injured 87 civilians.
***War Crimes
“If in a specific event due precaution is not taken or civilians are deliberately targeted, that can easily be a war crime,” Colville said.
It is up to a court to make a ruling, he said, but there had been so many similar incidents in Yemen, it would be hard to conclude war crimes had not taken place.
The restrictions on access to Yemen imposed by the coalition became a total blockade on Nov. 6 though conditions were eased on Nov. 25 to allow aid ships and some commercial cargoes to reach the shattered Arabian Peninsula country.
The UN World Food Program has brought in enough food for 1.8 million people for two months, but far more is needed.

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