SAUDI ARABIA (OBSERVATORY) – Yemen’s al-Houthi group fired ballistic missiles at what it called “economic and vital targets” in Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Jazan on Saturday and authorities in the kingdom said a Saudi man was killed by shrapnel, Reuters reports.
The attack appeared to be a retaliation by the Houthis in retaliation for the killing of Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi leader killed in an air strike led by Saudi Arabia last week, while thousands attended his funeral in the capital Sanaa.
Witnesses in Sanaa spoke of Saudi-led air strikes on Saturday near a gathering in the city center to bury the head of the Supreme Political Council, the council that runs the north of the Houthi-controlled country. There were no reports of casualties in the strikes.
The Houthi group fired eight ballistic missiles on “economic and vital targets” in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan region on Saturday, the Yemeni news agency Saba said. Riyadh said it had intercepted four rockets.
Al-Arabiya satellite television quoted a spokesman for the civil defense in Jazan, Colonel Yahya Abdullah al-Qahtani, as saying that “the civil defense teams received a report on the fall of fragments of military projectiles fired by Houthi elements from inside the Yemeni territory towards the province of Samta, resulting in the death of a citizen. Two houses and three vehicles were damaged.”
An accompanying photograph of Al Arabiya TV showed a house with shrapnel marks.
A stalemate in the fighting between the two sides is more than three years after the outbreak of civil war in Yemen.
A Saudi-led military alliance is trying to bring back the internationally-recognized Yemeni government that left the country after the Houthis took control of large parts of Yemen in 2014, including the capital, Sanaa.
Saudi and allied warplanes, most of which are Arab Gulf states, have carried out thousands of air strikes in Yemen, killing hundreds of civilians. The coalition says it is not targeting civilians.
Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a speech broadcast on Al-Masirah television that the death of the believers would not weaken the movement. He was relatively moderate, helping to oversee political and administrative tasks as the Houthi military wing continued to fight.
“They were waiting for this crime to break the will and spirit of the Yemeni people,” said al-Houthi. “The enemies have speculated that the assassination of the president will lead to differences within the supporters of Allah and all this is mirage and illusions.”
The Houthis fired more than 100 ballistic missiles into the kingdom, causing few casualties, but the attacks sparked accusations from their opponents and the United States that Iran was supplying its Houthi allies with rockets.
Tehran and the Houthis deny the charge. The group says it is fighting for Yemen’s sovereignty in the face of a Western-backed plan to control the country.