The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels announced it intercepted a missile fired over southern Riyadh Tuesday, while the Yemeni rebels said they targeted the royal palace in the kingdom’s capital.
U.S. officials at the Pentagon confirmed to Fox News Saudi Arabia’s report that the Houthi missile was shot down successfully.
“While we don’t yet have sufficient insight into this particular attack, it bears all the hallmarks of previous attacks using Iranian-provided weapons. It is only a matter of time before one of these missiles hits the target. If we don’t do something, we will miss the opportunity to prevent further violence from Iran,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. “This is the secretary-general’s fourth report on the Iranian regime’s lack of full compliance with Resolution 2231. And it is the most damning report yet. This report makes the case that Iran is illegally transferring weapons.”
Saudi state TV broadcast the announcement by the coalition as people who lived in the area posted videos on social media showing a small cloud of smoke in the sky. The Washington Post reported witnesses hearing “a loud boom” at the time.
The report said no damage was caused by the intercepted missile.
This is the second missile attack fired by the Houthis to target Saudi’s capital since Nov. 4. Last month’s attack targeted Riyadh’s airport but was also intercepted.
Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesman for the Shiite rebels also known as Houthis, said they fired a ballistic missile targeting the Yamama Palace. The palace is where the Saudi monarch, King Salman, received visiting foreign dignitaries and top Saudi officials.
Residents of Riyadh posted videos on social media showing a small cloud of smoke in the sky after hearing a loud explosion over their homes and while driving.
In Yemen, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the group targeted the Yamama Palace. He tweeted that a ballistic “Volcano H-2” missile was used in the attack.
In the episode last month, the Houthis targeted Saudi Arabia’s international airport in Riyadh, and Saudi Air Defense said it was intercepted. However, a New York Times analysis of photos and videos from the attack found that the missile may have actually come apart because of its speed and force.
Saudi Arabia has the U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air anti-missile system, which President Donald Trump credited for bringing the Nov. 4 missile down.
In the almost three years that the Saudi-led coalition has waged war with Yemen’s rebels, dozens of other missiles have been fired by the Houthis across the border into Saudi Arabia, reaching as far as some border towns. There have been casualties among local residents in those attacks.
Earlier this month, the Houthis claimed they fired a missile at an under-construction nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the Saudi coalition battling the militant group in Yemen. The UAE, however, denied that a missile had been fired.
The Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015. The Houthis, who are allied with Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, have forced into exile the Saudi-backed and internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Despite a fierce air campaign against the Houthis, the rebels still largely control the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north along the border with Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, the Houthis killed Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, after he switched alliances and struck deals with the Saudi-led coalition.
Yemen’s war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and driven millions to the brink of famine.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.