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Saudis Say They Intercepted Missiles, Drones Launched By Iran-Backed Houthis

SAUDI ARABIA -- Fires burn in the distance after a drone strike by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group on Saudi company Aramco's oil processing facilities, in Buqayq, Saudi Arabia September 14, 2019

Saudi Arabia announced early on Tuesday that Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a ballistic missile and bomb-laden drone attack on various targets in the kingdom, including the cities of Najran and Jizan.

According the Saudi statement its air defenses intercepted three ballistic missiles, and eight booby-trapped drones fired from Yemen. It appears that not all drones were intercepted but the statement did not say how many got through and where they might have exploded.

Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the coalition, said in a statement the missiles were targeting civilians.

Houthi rebels backed by Iran have launched dozens of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent years, often blaming the Saudis for air attacks on civilian targets in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels appeared to be winning a war against the central government.

Saudi, American and UN reports have said that Houthis receive their weapons, especially drones and missiles from Iran.

The largest and most destructive attack on Saudi Arabia claimed by Houthi forces took place in September 2019. Cruise missiles and drones targeted the kingdoms oil installation, but Saudi Arabia, the United States and some Western countries directly blamed Iran for launching the attack.

There have also been several rocket attacks in Baghdad in recent days suspected to have been launched by militia forces loyal to Iran.

Reporting by Reuters, AP