The Arab Coalition fighting in Yemen said on Thursday that it has intercepted a ballistic missile that hit 65 km away from Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah, saying it was fired by militias in Yemen.
The missile was fired from Saada province towards Makkah, the coalition said. No damage has been reported.
Coalition forces confirmed that they targeted the sites where the missile was launched from in Saada and destroyed it shortly after the incident.
The firing of the missile received condemnations from several countries with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates reacting with statements condemning Iran and Houthi militias.
All you need to know about the missile
Egyptian military expert, Hisham al-Halabi revealed the type and capabilities of the missile that was launched by the Houthi militias towards Makkah.
In a statement to al-Arabiya.net, Halabi said that it was a Scud ballistic surface-to-surface rocket.
The Yemeni army acquired this type of missiles from Russia, before being seized by Ali Abdullah Saleh’s militias. He stressed that operating the vehicle that carries the missile and launching it, require high technology and advanced courses and this could not possibly have been done by Houthi militias. It was clear for the expert that the missile was launched by Iranian experts or military officials belonging to ousted Saleh’s militia.
The firing of the missile towards Makkah received condemnations from the Muslim world. It was intercepted by the Arab coalition forces.
Halabi said that the missile has a range of more than 300 kilometers and targets facilities on the ground. He added that Saudi Arabia has anti-missile defense system that can shield the country by destroying the launched missile before reaching its target.
The military expert said that Saleh’s militia detains this type of missiles, adding that there are many types: A, B, C and D. The first missile which is “A” was launched in the fifties and ranged up to more than 180 kilometers. Missile “B” was launched at the beginning of the sixties with a range of 220 km. Missile “C” was launched at the end of the sixties with a range of 280 kilometers. Missile “D” was launched in the eighties with a range of more than 300 kilometers. The accuracy, speed and range of these missiles vary.
Halabi said that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, has used these types of missiles in the war against Iran and during the first Gulf War. North Korea has developed and upgraded some of these missiles, he added.
Halabi confirmed that such missiles should not worry the Saudi Kingdom because Saudi forces have the most advanced anti-missile defense systems that can destroy ballistics in the air before reaching the target and can as well destroy their bases on the ground.
Reactions and condemnations
Bahrain condemned on Friday the firing of the missile toward Makkah in a statement sent to Al Arabiya News Channel saying that "the targeting of the Holy Site presents a direct insult toward Muslims everywhere and constitutes a hate and religious crime from the militias’ part."
UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed tweeted his condemnation saying that “Iran claims itself Islamic while supporting militias firing of rockets into Makkah”.
Qatar responded by saying that launching of the ballistic missile attack on Makkah hampers the efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis peacefully.
The GCC council said the Houthi attack on Makkah is “evidence of their refusal to comply with the international community and its decisions.”
Kuwait on Friday said the attack violates holy Islamic sites. The Arab League said also targeting Makkah violates sanctity of Islamic sites.
Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Al-Momani said such “horrendous act” does not help what is happening on ground in Yemen, and it is provocation aimed at Muslims.
Meanwhile, Egypt also denounced the “unacceptable” and “unprecedented” attack which represents a “dangerous escalation.”
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's center of learning, in Cairo condemned the “treacherous” attack and said it cannot happen from anyone who has some faith in Islam.
Also, foreign minister of the Yemeni internationally recognized government said militias launching the Makkah-bound ballistic missile is “evidence” that they do not want peace, and that they are an “Iranian tool” aimed at destroyed Yemen.SHOW MORE