Rockets intercepted over Saudi capital

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 30 Mar 2020

Saudi air defenses intercepted ballistic missiles over Riyadh and a city on the Yemen border late Saturday, leaving at least two civilians wounded in the capital that is under curfew in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Multiple explosions shook Riyadh in the attack, which the Saudi-led military coalition blamed on Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

It was the first major assault on Saudi Arabia since the Huthis offered last September to halt attacks on the kingdom after devastating twin strikes on Saudi oil installations.

"Two ballistic missiles were launched towards the cities of Riyadh and Jizan," the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the coalition deployed in Yemen.

Their interception sent shrapnel raining on residential neighborhoods in the cities, leaving two civilians injured in Riyadh, a civil defense spokesman said.

At least three blasts rocked the capital, which is under a 15-hour curfew, just before midnight.

The assault comes despite a show of support on Thursday by Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni government and the rebels for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' appeal of an "immediate global ceasefire."

The Yemen government condemned the attack, which it said undermined efforts to scale down the conflict amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Yemen's broken healthcare system has so far recorded no case of the Covid-19 illness, but aid groups have warned that when it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic.

The country is already gripped by what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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