*JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it had intercepted two missiles in Makkah province fired by Yemen’s Houthis.*
Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Muslim states that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government ousted from power in Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.
A Saudi coalition spokesman said, “Royal Saudi Defence Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation,” according to Saudi’s state news agency SPA.
In a tweet, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington said the two missiles had been intercepted in Makkah province, which includes Jeddah and Taif.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, citing eyewitnesses, reported earlier on Monday that air defence forces had intercepted two ballistic missiles above the two western cities of Jeddah and Taif and said the first one had been directed towards Mecca, without providing evidence.
The Houthis denied that their missiles were targeting Makkah, roughly 70 km (40 miles) from Jeddah and 50 km (30 miles) from Taif. The group called the claim a tactic by Saudi Arabia to rally support for its war.
“The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Facebook.
The Houthis have repeatedly targeted Saudi cities and oil installations with missiles and drones, mostly n border areas. Twice, in 2016 and 2017, the coalition said the group had launched a missile towards Makkah, but the movement said it was targeting nearby airports.