US exploring new bases in Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions

Daniel Fowler
January 26, 2021

An explosion was heard in the Saudi capital at about 11:00 am (0800 GMT), AFP correspondents reported.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV cited local reports of an explosion and videos circulating on social media of a missile being intercepted over Riyadh early this afternoon.

It was unclear who was behind the incident, with the kingdom's brief statement stopping short of accusing anyone and the Huthis saying they were not involved.

It began with the Houthi takeover of the north in 2014, which prompted a destructive air campaign by the Saudi-led coalition, aimed at restoring the internationally recognised government.

Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport said there were a number of flight delays, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to Saturday's incident.

Saudi Arabia has led a military intervention against the Huthis since 2015 and has repeatedly been targeted with cross-border attacks.

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It's rare for attacks to reach the capital, which is located some 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the Yemeni border.

The incident comes only days after Joe Biden was sworn-in as United States president, replacing Donald Trump.

Saudi television claimed after the Saudi coalition announced that the Yemeni Ansarullah movement had fired a missile at Riyadh.

Thousands of Yemen's Houthi rebels and their supporters protested in Sanaa on Monday after the U.S. blacklisted the group as "terrorist", a move aid groups have warned could put millions of civilians at risk.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden froze sanctions against the Houthis for one month, as his new administration reviews a terror blacklisting imposed by then-President Donald Trump that aid groups fear would aggravate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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