Houthi rebels target holy city of Mecca, planned to kill civilians

In a sudden development of the quality of Houthis military operations, the Saudi state news agency reported on Thursday that Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile toward Mecca .

Saudi-led coalition forces intervening in Yemens civil war coalition forces destroyed the missile 65 km from the holy city, almost near Al Taif city, where Saudi King Fahad Air Base is located.

According to the Saudi official statement, the Saudi forces destroyed the missile without damage and retaliated against the launch site inside Yemen.

From their part, the Houthis confirmed the launch of a Burkan-1 ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia in a statement on Friday said Reuters

Yemeni rebels revealed that they used the missile to target King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the kingdom’s busiest civilian airport, located 19 kilometers north of the western Saudi port city of Jeddah, and about 79 kilometers from Mecca, according to the Saudi Transport Ministry.

Houthi Ansarullah movement has rejected in its statement the claim of the Saudi military that the Yemeni missile was fired toward the holy city of Mecca, and insisted that the missile was targeting the civilian airport.

However, Saudi officials reported that the Kingdom’s missile systems intercepted and destroyed the solid propellant and the Scud-type missile before it could cause any damage. the Houthis’ official Saba news agency said that the 12.5-meter-long missile had hit its target accurately and left massive destruction at the airport.

Burkan1..Houthi’s new missile

As known,on October 10, Houthis targeted al-Taif in the southern Makkah region, but that missile was also destroyed by the Saudi air defense, according to Kuwait News Agency
The new missile used by houthis to target the Saudi cities called Burkan-1 which houthis have unveiled on September.

According to British defensce magazine “IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly“, Burkan-1 has a range of more than 800 km and is a modified ‘Scud’ that was developed by the Missile Research and Development Centre of the military’s ballistic missile force, which is allied with the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group against Saudi-led coalition forces.

Burkan-1 has a diameter of 88 cm, a length of 12.5 m, a total weight of 8,000 kg, and a 500 kg warhead.

According to the defence magazine, the dimensions of the Houthi’s new missile would make it the same diameter as a standard Soviet R-17 (SS-1C ‘Scud-B’) ballistic missile, but more than 1.5 m longer than a conventionally armed R-17, and around 2,000 kg heavier even though the warhead weighs roughly half as much.

Following these information, the missile might be launched from the North of Yemen, specially from Sa’ada, while Houthi rebels control much of the North of Yemen including the capital Sanaa along with its allies, forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

It is noteworthy that the distance between the Yemeni capital seized by houthis Sans’a and Mecca is more then 1000 kilometers, and Sa’ada is 242 kilometers from Sana’a, according the Yemeni Ministry of Tourism.
The war continues between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Houthis’ new operation toward Saudi Arabia, seems to be a new chapter in the Saudi-Iranian political crisis.

Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr blamed Iran for the escalating militia violence, accusing Tehran of training thousands of Houthi fighters in Iran and Beirut, The Americain International Business Times reported.

“The war in Yemen did not start on March 26, 2015. It, in fact, started when Houthis raised the guns against their political rivals and against the state with clear support from Iran, which trained around 6,000 Houthis in Iran or in Beirut under military experts,” Bin Daghr said following a meeting with French Ambassador to Yemen Christian Tisti told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia has usually accused Iran of sending weapons to the rebels in violation of U.N. resolutions.