Saudi Arabia on Sunday said it shot down seven ballistic missiles fired at the country from the Houthi rebels in Yemen, in what is being seen as an escalation to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi rebel terrorists.
At least one person has died, as debris from one of the missiles is said to have killed a man in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. The man’s death is the first death during what is now a three-year campaign against the Houthis.
WATCH #Saudi Patriot missiles intercepting missiles fired by #Iran-backed #Houthi militia from #Yemen toward Riyadh on Sunday night. Seven Houthi missiles were shot down.https://t.co/MGskjzyao9 pic.twitter.com/wBKOmHMSfY
— Arab News (@arabnews) March 25, 2018
The Houthi rebels in Yemen are suspected of being funded and backed by Iran, and the terror group has been trying to show off how their missiles can reach the capital city.
The incident escalates tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, too. This was the third time in five months that Houthis have attacked Saudi Arabia and flown missiles over Riyadh.
The intended target of the Burkan H2 missile was reportedly the King Khalid international airport in Riyadh. Missiles were also fired at airports in other cities.
The Guardian reported that other missiles were fired at “the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said in a statement carried [out] by state news agency SPA.
“Debris from the missiles fell on a home in Riyadh, killing an Egyptian resident and wounding two other Egyptians, said coalition spokesman [Col.] Turki al-Malki, according to SPA,” The Guardian reported.
The coalition, which is led by Saudi Arabia and includes other Gulf Arab states, has been conducting operations against the Houthis in Yemen since March 2015. That is when the Shia militia that is in line with Iran took over Sanaa, Yemen’s capital city, and forced the president there out.
While the Houthis deny having anything to do with Tehran – the capital city of Iran – Saudi Arabia viewed the move as a power grab. The coalition’s goal is to take back the capital city of Yemen from Iran’s control.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said this past December there is “undeniable” evidence that Iran has been giving missiles to the terrorist Houthi rebels in Yemen, and she revealed hard evidence – missile parts that might as well have “Made in Iran” stamped on them.
“The evidence is undeniable,” she had said. “The weapons might as well have had ‘Made in Iran’ stickers all over it.”‘
The missiles had been fired at the main airport in Riyadh, and Haley said Iran is violating United Nations sanctions.
During his speech last year at the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump accused Iran of funding terrorists and creating a dangerous missile arsenal. The Iranian President later came out and said flatly that Iran wants to strengthen its missile capabilities – and doesn’t intend to ask permission to do it.
The Iranian nuclear deal was drawn up in 2015 with Iran, the U.S. and five other nations. Its framework includes stipulations that Iran would redesign, convert and reduce its number of nuclear facilities in order to lift nuclear-related economical sanctions, which would reportedly free up billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets for Iran. The U.S. and Iran also agreed to their own terms, along with terms penned with other nations.
The President has called the deal “one of the worst” and “the most one-sided transaction the United States has ever entered into,” and he reiterated his sentiments last year when he initially announced the U.S. would not certify the deal yet – he said the “rogue regime” of Iran is only perpetuating terrorism around the world, and is becoming more aggressive in doing so.
“The Iranian dictatorship […] remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” President Trump had said, saying the regime provides assistance to al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorists.
As for the 2015 landmark deal forged by Iran and the Obama Administration, Trump has said: “We got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term, temporary delay for Iran on its path toward nuclear weapons.”
Additionally, along with pushing the deal back to Congress, the President had authorized the U.S. Treasury to impose sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which he called a “corrupt personal terror force.”
Iranian officials have pushed back against the President’s comments. Iran has denied it is on a quest to build missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, and the country has said it wants to build its nuclear arsenal only for civilian use.
More than two million people have been displaced and 10,000 people have been killed during Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen; and, one million people have been infcted with the cholera outbreak, which has been called the worst outbreak in history.