Saudi Arabia says Yemen rebels fire missile toward Mecca

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (TIP): Siite rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile toward the holy Muslim city of Mecca overnight, Saudi Arabia said Friday, the insurgents’ deepest strike yet into the kingdom amid the country’s stalemate civil war.

Rebel media in Yemen said the missile targeted an international airport in Jiddah, though Saudi Arabia said it was “intercepted and destroyed” 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Mecca, which is home to the cube-shaped Kaaba that the world’s Muslims pray toward five times a day.

The missile launch shows the capability of Yemen’s Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies to continue to strike Saudi Arabia. It also drew the immediate anger of Saudi citizens, as the protection of Mecca is a key pillar of the Saudi royal family’s prestige and the country’s national identity.

The Saudi military said the missile, fired Thursday night from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province bordering the kingdom, caused no damage.