Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Saudis Shoot Down Scud Missile Fired by Rebel Group in Yemen

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Saudis Shoot Down Scud Missile Fired by Rebel Group in Yemen

Article excerpt

SANAA, Yemen ? Yemen's dominant Houthi group and its army allies fired a Scud missile at Saudi Arabia which the kingdom said it shot down on Saturday, in a major escalation of two months of war.

Arab air strikes and shelling after the attack killed 38 Yemenis in provinces near Saudi Arabia, according to reports in the Houthi- controlled state news agency Saba which could not be immediately confirmed.

In the first reported use of a ballistic missile in the conflict, the Scud was fired on Saturday morning at the city of Khamees Mushait in the kingdom's southwest and was intercepted by two Patriot missiles, a statement by the Saudi military said.

The area is home to the largest air force base in southern Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, but there are no oil facilities in the vicinity.

Al Masira, the Houthi group's official channel, confirmed the launch and said it targeted the King Khaled air base.

An alliance of Gulf Arab nations has been bombing Yemen's Houthi militia and allied army units loyal to powerful ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 in an attempt to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

Yemen's official Saba news outlet said Saudi shelling and air strikes hit a camp for displaced people, a medical center and a school in the border province of Hajja, killing 28 people, and bombings elsewhere in the north killed 10 others.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the reports among residents of the remote border areas, which are cut off from telephone lines and are often the scene of clashes between Houthi and Saudi forces.

Saturday's violence came despite progress toward United Nations- backed peace talks planned for Geneva this month, to which both the exiled government and the Houthis have agreed.

The United Nations said on Saturday it would convene the talks on June 14, and renewed a call for a pause in hostilities. "This could also help create an atmosphere that is more conducive for peaceful dialog," a spokesman said.

The coalition has said a main goal of its war effort is to neutralize the threat that rockets in Yemen pose to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. …

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