Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile, 26 wounded by shrapnel

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Saudi Arabia’s air defence forces intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthis in the southern city of Najran, wounding 26 people with shrapnel, Saudi civil defence said on Wednesday.

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said on Twitter the group had hit a Saudi National Guard camp in the border city. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said the missile launched from Saada province had been detected at 2008 (1708GMT).

The Iran-aligned Houthi militants, who control Yemen’s capital Sanaa and most of the west of the country, regularly fire missiles on southern Saudi Arabia and occasionally aim for higher-value targets, such as the capital Riyadh or facilities of state oil company Aramco.

Most of the missiles have been intercepted by the Saudi military. At least 112 civilians have been killed in such attacks since 2015, according to the coalition.

Saudi civil defence said two children were among the wounded in the latest missile interception. Eleven of the victims were taken to hospital for treatment.

Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed alliance of Sunni Muslim Arab states trying to restore the internationally recognised government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu MansourHadi, ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in 2015.

UN mediator Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva that Yemen’s first round of peace talks in almost three years aims to build confidence between the warring sides.