Dubai: Saudi Arabia shot down a ballistic missile in Taif, 50 km away from Makkah, fired by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen according to Al Arabiya news channel.
The Saudi-owned satellite news channel said Yemen's Houthi rebels have fired two missiles into the kingdom that later were intercepted.
Al Arabiya reported on Monday that the two missiles were intercepted over the city of Taif and the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
The channel cited witnesses for the information.
Saudi Arabia later on Monday said in a statment that it had intercepted two missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site.
A Saudi coalition spokesman said, “Royal Saudi Defence Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation,” according to Saudi’s state news agency SPA.
In a tweet, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington said the two missiles had been intercepted in Mecca province, which includes Jeddah and Taif.
The Houthis made no official claims to the missile fire.
The fact that Makkah lies between these two cities caused many Muslims to take to the social media express their anger and fear. The hashtags #HouthisStrikeMecca and #الحوثي_يستهدف_كعبه_المسلمين went viral.
Many religious pilgrims are now in the city amid the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.