By Ahmed Abdulkareem
HAJJAH, YEMEN — Saudi Arabia has claimed that its air defenses shot down two ballistic missiles over the city of Taif, just 65 kilometers east of Mecca, in the early hours of Monday morning. Saudi officials claim that another missile was intercepted over the Haddah in western Saudi Arabia.
Saudi newspaper Okaz reported that the missiles were intercepted as residents were breaking their day-long Ramadan fast. The paper claimed that the attempted attack was evidence that the Houthis had no regard for the safety and security of Muslim pilgrims visiting Mecca during the nights of Ramadan. The Houthis have unequivocally denied any involvement in the attacks.
Mohammed AbdulSalam, a spokesman for the Houthi political wing Ansar Allah, said in a statement, “We avoid targeting civilians as well as holy places, and this [accusation] is Saudi bankruptcy,” adding “Saudi Arabia fabricated the Houthi threat [to Meccia] in order to mobilize official and popular support.”
The Yemeni army, which is allied with the Houthis, said in a statement in the wake of Saudi accusation: “This isn’t the first time the Saudi regime has accused us of targeting Mecca. The objective of…