Saudi Arabia has intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh after Yemen rebels claimed to have fired at the royal residence of King Salman.
Eyewitnesses said they saw a plume of smoke over the capital after hearing a blast at about 10.50am this morning – shortly before the scheduled unveiling of the Saudi budget.
A Saudi-led coalition is battling the armed Houthi movement in neighbouring Yemen and this morning the Shiite rebels said they were targeting a meeting of leaders at Yamama palace.
They claimed a ballistic ‘Volcano H-2’ missile was used in the attack.
Pictures on social media showed a trail of white smoke in the skies above the city this morning. State television has claimed there are no reports of damage so far while.
Officials said the missile was ‘Iranian-Huthi’, days after Washington accused Tehran of manufacturing a missile fired by the Yemeni rebels at the Saudi capital last month.
A royal family member appeared to confirm the missile was aimed at a palace meeting.
‘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.
The attack happened hours before Saudi Arabia was due to announce the country’s annual budget in a news conference expected to be attended by senior ministers.
It was the second Huthi missile attack on Riyadh in the past two months.
The first attack, which targeted Riyadh international airport on November 4, triggered the tightening of a longstanding Saudi-led blockade of Yemen – already on the verge of famine.
Saudi Arabia angrily accused its arch foe Iran of supplying the missile to the rebels, a charge Tehran strongly denied.