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Donald Trump blames Iran after Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile fired at capital by Yemen rebels

- 1509834994 riyadh - Donald Trump blames Iran after Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile fired at capital by Yemen rebels


Saudi Arabia says it has intercepted a ballistic missile fired over capital Riyadh by rebels from Yemen, an attack Donald Trump immediately blamed on Iran.

The missile was brought down near King Khaled International Airport on the northern outskirts of the city and did not cause any casualties, state-owned Al Ekhbariya TV reported.

Rocket fragments fell near the airport grounds, but flights were not disrupted, the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority said.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince says kingdom will return to ‘moderate, open Islam’

Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired the missile across Saudi Arabia’s southern border, according to several Houthi-owned media outlets, including Al-Masirah and SABA.

It is the first time a Houthi missile has come so close to a heavily populated area and appears to be the farthest such a missile has reached inside Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is around 620 miles (1,000km) north of the border with Yemen. 

Saba News, which is run by the Houthi rebels, reported the missile was a Burkan H2 and the airport had been the target.

A Saudi military spokesman condemned the attack in a statement, saying the missile was fired “indiscriminately” toward a populated civilian area. 

Saudi Arabia is part of a coalition carrying out bombings of the Iran-allied Houthi movement in Yemen, which has taken over the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country during its civil war.

Responding to the attack, Mr Trump immediately blamed Iran.

“A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down,” the US President said, referring to the Patriot missile batteries Saudi Arabia has purchased from the US.

“That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make and now we’re selling it all over the world.” 

Saudi military forces have intercepted missiles fired by Houthis several times since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched a war against the rebels and their allies after they captured northern Yemen and ousted the Saudi-backed president from power. The kingdom has also imposed an air and sea blockade on Yemen. 

The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced three million others, pushing the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine. 

Saudi Arabia accuses its rival, Iran, of training and helping arm the rebels. Iran denies it has provided material support, though it acknowledges its political support of the Houthis. 

News outlet Al-Masirah said the missile was made in Yemen and was the third to be fired toward Riyadh this year. It reported the rebels saying the missile was fired in response to “Saudi-American aggression and crimes against the people of Yemen.” 

Earlier this week, a suspected air strike by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 29 people, including children, in northern Yemen.

Independent

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Middle East

15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official

- e7523a3c68ddf4be6a508bd1ab873f3e L - 15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official


ERBIL — At least two civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded on Sunday as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin, northwest of Syria, a local official said.

Osama Sheikh Issa, co-chair of Afrin local administration told Kurdistan24 that what Turkey is trying to achieve is having revenge on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fighter’s victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

“All of the casualties of the Turkish attacks were civil people who had nothing to do with the war” he pointed out.

Issa also asserted that the residents of Afrin are confidently staying in their city, but the displaced Syrian people who had found refuge in Afrin are in danger because of the Turkish assault on the city.

He further ensured that “none of the YPG and YPJ units have been targeted by the Turkish strikes, in deed all the attacks have been aimed at the homes of civilians in Afrin”.

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Middle East

Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation

- 6cce60afe0e9652295227731138f696c L - Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation


ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran has called on Turkey to halt the Afrin operation and respect Syria’s territorial integrity, said a spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Mehr News Agency, Bahram Ghasemi said that Iran is closely and concernedly following the current developments in the city of Afrin.

“Iran hopes that the operation will immediately come to an end to stop the deepening of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria” he added. 

“The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may further strengthen the takfirist-terrorist groups in the northern Syrian regions, and flare up the fires of war ” warned the Iranian foreign ministry.

Qasemi also drew attention to the Astana peace talks and stated that all countries, especially Turkey, are expected to remain committed to the political solution, especially Astana peace process, for the Syrian crisis and continue observing their commitments and playing their constructive role in the resolution of the crisis.

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Middle East

[Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin

- a515aef23f394e0974fa089da5993b99 L - [Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a footage on Sunday which shows them destroying a Turkish tank near the border city of Afrin.

The YPG fighters appear in the video destroying a Turkish tank with an anti-tank missile.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northwest of Syria, dubbed as the “Olive Branch Operation”.

The assault has so far left dozens killed and injured, including civilians and fighters from the both sides.

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