Houthi militants take part in a parade held to mark 1,000 days of the Saudi-led military intervention in the Yemeni conflict, in Sanaa, Yemen, December 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS
Houthi militants take part in a parade held to mark 1,000 days of the Saudi-led military intervention in the Yemeni conflict, in Sanaa, Yemen, December 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS

Riyadh — Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the capital Riyadh on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said, the latest attack by a Yemeni group that could escalate a proxy war between the kingdom and regional rival Tehran.

There was no immediate report of casualties or damages.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement said the missile targeted the royal court at al-Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way, describing the attack as a new chapter in the conflict.

The Saudi-led coalition said the missile was directed at residential areas and there were no damages, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

Quoting a statement from the coalition, SPA said Iranian-made missiles were a threat to regional and international security, and accused the Houthis of using humanitarian entry points to import missiles from Saudi Arabia’s arch-foe Iran.

"Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time," the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account.

Saudi palaces, military and oil facilities are within range of such missiles fired from Yemen, the Houthis said, according to a statement distributed via their television channel al-Masirah.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in struggle for influence in the Middle East.

Riyadh is especially sensitive to the civil war in its backyard Yemen, a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than two million people.

The United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Saudi Arabia and part of the coalition, said that the latest Houthi attack underscored the need to keep the military campaign in Yemen going.

Reuters