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Country Risk

Saudis says Iranian ballistic missiles launched from Yemen

10 November 2017
A still from the rebel video that purportedly showed the launch of the Burkan-2H that targeted King Khalid International Airport. Source: Al-Masirah TV

Key Points

  • Saudi Arabia has identified the Yemeni rebels' Burkan-2H as an Iranian-made ballistic missile
  • It has responded by tightening the blockade on rebel-controlled territory

Saudi Arabia has said that a ballistic missile that was launched from Yemen at Riyadh on 4 November had a range of more than 900 km and was made in Iran, describing that attack as an “act of war”.

The Yemeni rebels claimed they hit Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to the north of Riyadh with a Burkan-2H ballistic missile and released a video that purportedly showed the missile being launched at night.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that air defences had intercepted the missile before it hit the airport and its remnants landed in an uninhabited area north of the capital.

“This is the first time a Houthi missile has come this close to a heavily populated area and it appears to be the farthest such a missile has reached inside Saudi Arabia,” it said, using the popular name for Yemen’s pro-Iranian Ansar Allah group that has allied itself with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to fight Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The SPA reported the Saudi-led coalition as saying on 6 November that the missile had a range of 900 km and that a “thorough examination of the debris” had confirmed “the role of Iran’s regime in manufacturing” this and another missile that landed in the kingdom on 22 July.

While the Saudis have not previously acknowledged a ballistic missile attack on that date, the rebels claimed they used a Burkan-2H for the first time against the Yanbu oil refinery, a target around 880 km from the Yemeni border.

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