The Houthi “Ansar Allah” group in Yemen announced on Sunday that it had carried out “a major offensive operation targeting the Saudi rear,” using a ballistic missile and drones.
The spokesman for the Houthi forces, Yahya Saree, said in a statement that the operation, called “Fifth Deterrence Balance”, continued from Saturday evening until Sunday, using a ballistic missile of the “Zulfiqar” type and 15 drones.
The spokesman stated that nine “Samad 3” aircraft targeted “sensitive sites” in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, while six “Qasef” aircraft were launched. 2kStrikes on “military sites in the areas of Abha and Khamis Mushait,” adding that the injury was accurate.
Saree stressed that Houthi operations “are continuing and will expand more and more as long as the aggression and siege continues,” he said, calling on residents of the aforementioned areas to “stay away from all sites and airports that may be used for military purposes.”
The Houthi statement comes after the Saudi-led coalition announced that it had intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis towards Riyadh and six explosive drones launched to target the southern region of Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis have recently intensified their attacks on Saudi Arabia in order to tighten control over the Marib Governorate, which is the last stronghold of the internationally recognized government forces backed by the coalition in central Yemen.
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen said that it intercepted a ballistic attack launched by the Houthis on the capital, Riyadh, and destroyed six armed drones that were dropped on cities in southern Saudi Arabia.
“Six aircraft were targeting civilians and civilian sites in the regions of Jizan and Khamis Mushait,” the coalition statement reported by state media said.
The Civil Defense Directorate in Riyadh said, in a statement reported by the official Saudi Press Agency, that “fragments of the destroyed missile caused damage to a house, but it did not result in casualties or injuries.”
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a military coalition in support of the internationally recognized government, which has been locked in a bloody conflict against the Houthis since 2014, when they took control of the capital, Sanaa, and other areas.
The United States moved to remove the Houthis from the terrorism list after the designation, which was imposed by the previous US administration for Donald Trump, was widely criticized by aid organizations, which warned that it might impede efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
And the current US President Joe Biden stopped his support for Saudi offensive operations in the Yemen war, which he described as a “catastrophe” that “must end.”
The grinding conflict has claimed the lives of tens of thousands and displaced millions, according to international organizations, sparking what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Besides cross-border attacks, the Houthis are pressing ahead with an offensive to control the last stronghold of the Yemeni government in Marib, where some of the country’s richest oil fields are located.
Years of bombings have failed to shake the Houthis’ grip on the capital, Sanaa, and they have steadily expanded their influence in the north of the country.