Ballistic missile intercepted in Yemen

A Yemeni fighter loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi looks at smoke rising in the distance in the Sirwah area, in Marib province, on April 10, 2016, during clashes with Shiite Houthi rebels. (AFP)

A ballistic missile fired early Tuesday towards the central Yemeni city of Marib has been intercepted, a Saudi-led military coalition battling rebels in the impoverished nation said.

The missile was “destroyed with no damage” after its launch at around 12:15 am (2115 GMT), a statement from the alliance said.

“Coalition air forces immediately responded by destroying the missile launching pad.”

Marib, controlled by forces loyal to Yemen’s recognized government, is east of the capital Sanaa, which remains in the hands of Shiite Houthi rebels.

The Houthis overran Sanaa in late 2014 before moving into other parts of Yemen, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in March last year.

This was at least the third missile launch since United Nations-brokered peace talks began in Kuwait in April between the Houthis and the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Houthis are allied with elite troops loyal to Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Negotiations in Kuwait have failed to achieve a major breakthrough, and fighting has continued despite a formal ceasefire in conjunction with peace talks.

Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missile batteries to counter tactical ballistic missiles which have been fired occasionally during the war.

The UN says more than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since March last year, the majority of them civilians.

Fighting has driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80 percent of the population needing humanitarian aid.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51