Yemen's Houthis fire missile at Saudi royal Yamamah palace

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Yemen's Houthi movement on Tuesday announced firing a ballistic missile towards a Kingdom's royal palace in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Houthi-controlled state Saba news agency reported.

A ballistic missile is seen after it was fired toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh from an undisclosed location in Yemen, in this handout photo released Dec. 19, 2017 by the Houthi movement's War Media. [Photo/VCG]

A senior military official at Houthi-controlled Defence Ministry told Xinhua that "the Rocket's Force fired the ballistic missile, Burkan H2, towards the kingdom's royal palace of Yamamah at the center of the Saudi capital of Riyadh at the same time there was an important meeting for the Saudi royal family."

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that "today's move came as a new military escalation in the war against the U.S.-backed Saudi-led military coalition."

"It is also an escalation to press the coalition to lift the all-out blockade imposed by the coalition forces on all Yemen's land, air and sea ports that pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine," he said.

"The leader of dominant Houthi movement, Abdul Malik al-Houthi is expected to appear in the television within hours to announce a new phase of the military escalation in the war after nearly one thousand day since the Saudi-led coalition launched the war against Yemen," the official added.

This is the fourth long-range ballistic missile attack on neighboring Gulf states in a month.

On Dec. 3, the Houthi rebels said they fired a long-range winged cruise missile towards Barraka nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, in a statement carried by Saba news agency.

UAE dismissed the Houthi attempt and said its anti-missile defence system did not record any attack on the country.

On Nov. 30, Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the border Saudi city of Khamis Mushait.

On Nov. 4, Saudi air defences shot down a ballistic missile fired by Houthis in Yemen over the King Khaled International Airport north of Saudi capital Riyadh.

The Nov. 4 missile attack triggered an all-out blockade imposed by Saudi-led military coalition over all Yemeni air, sea and land ports, cutting off all aid, fuel and food imports.

The coalition earlier last month eased the siege, allowing only some aid access through northern Houthi-controlled ports, though the United Nations aid agencies warned that was not enough and pleaded for the coalition to allow food imports.

Last week, the United States revealed evidence that accused Iran of supplying ballistic missile technology to its ally Yemeni Houthi movement. Both Iran and Houthi movement denied the U.S. allegations.

Saudi Arabia led a military coalition of Arab forces backed by the United States that intervened in Yemen's conflict in March 2015 to back the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The coalition has launched thousands of airstrikes on the rebels, in attempts to roll back the rebel gains and reinstate Hadi to the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed over 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, and pushed the country to the brink of mass famine.

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