Saudi shoots down Houthi ballistic missile

Saudi Arabia’s air defense system has destroyed a ballistic missile fired from Yemen by the Houthi militias

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Saudi Arabia’s air defense system has destroyed a ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Saturday, security sources told the Arabic website of Al Arabiya News Channel.

The missile – launched by the Houthi militias who control large parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa – was intercepted over the airspace of the frontier province of Najran.

Meanwhile, unknown sources informed the Saudi civil defense in Jazan, another southern province, that missiles were fired from Yemen territory, hitting a civilian’s home and injuring a child.

In recent days, clashes between Yemen’s Popular Resistance - backed by the Arab coalition - and the Iranian-backed Houthi militias have been continuing across several districts in Yemen amid UN-sponsored peace talks between Yemen’s warring sides taking place in Kuwait.

Three months of talks between the government and the Houthis militias have failed to make headway, forcing the host country to issue an ultimatum Wednesday for the warring parties to reach a deal within 15 days or leave.

Fighting al-Qaeda

Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck al-Qaeda positions in southern Yemen on Saturday killing several militants, as government forces appeared set on a new offensive, military officials said.

Two air strikes targeted al-Qaeda militants gathered on the outskirts of Jaar town in Abyan province, killing and wounding several militants, military officials said.

The raids came after several military meetings were held in Aden to discuss plans for a new operation against militants in Abyan, they added.

Government forces backed by the Arab coalition had launched an all-out offensive in March against militants in south Yemen, recapturing main cities.

But government troops retreated from Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, after al-Qaeda militants struck back.

The militants have been seen planting mines and explosive devices along the route linking Abyan with the southern port city of Aden, in preparation for an anticipated attack, witnesses said.

The government of UN-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has been using Aden as a temporary capital since it was recaptured from Houthi militias a year ago. The capital Sanaa has been under Houthi control since September 2014.

ISIS in Yemen

Meanwhile, suspected militants of the ISIS group killed a Sunni cleric in the center of Aden on Saturday, a security official said.

A gunman stepped out of a car after dawn and shot dead cleric Ali Abdulrahman al-Zahri in Mansura district, as he emerged from a mosque, the official said.

ISIS militants had threatened attacks against clerics they accuse of being pro-government, mainly those who denounce suicide bombings.

(With AFP)