Yemen’s Houthis deny targeting Mecca with missile

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SANAA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) — The Yemeni Houthi army’s spokesman on Friday denied Saudi allegation of targeting the holy city of Mecca with a ballistic missile, noting that it targeted a Saudi airport in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, in a statement carried by Houthi-controlled state Saba News Agency.

Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman said that Thursday’s ballistic missile attack “has hit the target” with 100 percent accuracy, stressing that the target was inside the King Abdel Aziz Airport in Jeddah, west of Mecca.

He slammed the allegation as “a media war and misleading of public opinion,” affirming that his army fighters are “very careful to spare civilian areas, particularly the Islamic holy sites, from any attack.”

Saudi state news agency SPA reported Thursday that a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis from Yemeni northern province of Saada was intercepted 65 km from Mecca.

No damage or casualties were reported in the incident, SPA said, adding that the Saudi warplanes hit the missile launch pad in Saada and completely destroyed it.

The Saudi-led Arab military coalition has been fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015, in an effort to restore the internationally recognized government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and dislodge Houthis from the capital Sanaa and northern provinces.

International efforts and talks between the war parties have been so far fruitless.

The attack on Thursday was the latest of a series of ballistic rocketry strikes by the Houthis, most of them intercepted by Saudi military forces.

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