Saudi Arabia's air defenses intercept missiles above capital: coalition
Picture dated on February 07, 2008 shows the big central Saudi Mosque (donated by Saudi Arabia) in Nouakchott (AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia over Riyadh on Sunday, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman said on Sunday.

“Coalition air defenses spotted at 8:39 pm (local time) the launching of two ballistic missiles by the Iran affiliated Houthi militias from Saada city in Yemeni territory toward the Kingdom’s territory,” Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi press agency (SPA).

The two missiles were “intended to hit residential districts” in Riyadh, al-Maliki added.

“Air defenses intercepted the two missiles and destroyed them, which led to sharpnel spreading over residential areas without inflicting casualties.”

The Houthis’ al-Masira television said that rockets were aimed at Saudi defense ministry and other targets in the Saudi capital.

“The missile force confirms that ‘Burkan’(Volcano)rockets hit their targets in Riyadh with high precision,” it added, without specifying.

At least six loud blasts were heard and bright flashes were seen in the sky over Riyadh, and puffs of smoke were visible above the city, a Reuters witness said.

Shrapnel was spotted on a street in the diplomatic quarter where most embassies are located and many foreigners live, the witness added.

A high security presence was seen in the neighborhood, in addition to fire trucks, the witness said. Security personnel prevented people from entering the district.

The attack is at least the sixth to target Riyadh since December.

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme in Dubai, Stephen Kalin in Riyadh, Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Editing by Andrew Bolton