In a fresh escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen-based Houthi rebels, the Arabian authority claimed to have intercepted two ballistic missiles fired from Yemen over Taif. Riyadh's embassy in Washington said that the kingdom's air defense destroyed two missiles over its air space. One of the missiles was headed to Mecca and Jeddah was targeted by the other. The alleged attack has come after Saudi Arabia blamed Houthi rebels last week for attacking its oil pumping stations with explosive-laden drones.
Rubbishing the claims made by Riyadh on Monday's attack, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said, "The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people."
Recent attacks may add further tensions between the two countries. The crisis in Yemen, caused by prolonged conflict, has led to lasting impacts on human life, basic public services, and the economy. As per the United Nation Security Council (UNSC), more than 2 million people have been displaced and 14 million are in desperate need of food. The involvement of external players including Saudi and Iran has further deteriorated the situation in the region.
Notably, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim countries that meddled in Yemen in 2015. The main objective of the US-backed coalition was to restore the internationally recognised government ousted from power in the capital city of Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. Since then millions of civilians have lost their lives and Yemen is facing one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in the history of mankind.
Last week, the Houthi group has said that the attacks on the oil stations were a part of a larger military operation which would target 300 vital Saudi military installations in the area. Houthi controlled SABA news agency has reported that the group is further targeting military headquarters and facilities in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia as well as their bases in Yemen. However, deputy defense minister of Saudi Arabia accused Iran of carrying the attacks on its oil pumping stations.