Saudi Arabia closed Yemen borders, accuses Iran over a weekend missile strike

The Saudi-led coalition battling Shia Huthi rebels in Yemen closed the country’s air, sea and land borders Monday and accused Iran of being behind a weekend missile attack on Riyadh, saying it “may amount to an act of war”.

Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile, which was launched from Yemen as rebels appeared to escalate hostilities, near Riyadh’s international airport on Saturday.

The missile was the first aimed by the Shia rebels at the heart of the Saudi capital, underscoring the growing threat posed by the raging conflict.

“The leadership of the coalition forces, therefore, considers this… a blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war,” the official Saudi news agency SPA said in a statement.

Smouldering debris landed at the King Khalid International Airport, just north of Riyadh, after the missile was shot down but authorities reported no major damage or loss of life.

Yemen’s complex war pits the Saudi-backed government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his Iran-backed Huthi rebel allies.

The Saudi statement said that the borders were being closed “to fill the gaps in the inspection procedures which enable the continued smuggling of missiles and military equipment to the Huthi militias loyal to Iran in Yemen”.

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