Loud explosion shakes Riyadh days after Saudi Arabia intercepts projectile

Andrew Cummings
January 26, 2021

Saudi Arabia intercepted a "hostile target" over Riyadh on Saturday, said state media in the kingdom which has come under repeated attack from Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels since 2015.

The blast rattled windows across the Saudi capital at about 1pm (10:00 GMT), witnesses said.

Three days ago, the Saudi media also reported state air defences intercepting either a missile or a drone in the sky above Riyadh, with a video of the reported act later emerging on social media.

Blinken, President Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, said at his nomination hearing Tuesday that his "deep concern about the designation that was made is that at least on its surface it seems to achieve nothing particularly practical in advancing the efforts against the Houthis and to bring them back to the negotiating table, while making it even more hard than it already is to provide humanitarian assistance to people who desperately need it".

The Gulf kingdom has since been targeted in a number of cross-border attacks.

A military spokesman for the Houthi group, which has launched cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, said the movement had not carried out any operations against coalition countries over the past 24 hours.

The incident comes only days after Joe Biden was sworn in as the U.S. president, replacing Donald Trump.

On Monday, the new administration froze sanctions on dealings with the Huthis for one month as it reviews a terror blacklisting imposed under Trump that aid groups warn will aggravate a humanitarian crisis.

The Iran-aligned Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and much of northern Yemen, sparking a Saudi-led intervention the following year to prop up the internationally recognised government.

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