Saudi intercepts ballistic missile fired from Yemen to Riyadh

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it intercepted a ballistic missile south of the Saudi capital fired by a rebel group in neighboring Yemen, possibly raising regional tensions amid Saudi claims that Iran is supplying the rebel factions with weapons.

The missile incursion marked the second time the rebels, known as the Houthis, had targeted Riyadh in the past two months.  

The claim that the missile was intercepted, carried by Saudi state-run media, could not be immediately be confirmed. Witnesses in Riyadh described hearing a loud boom and pictures that circulated on social media showed a plume of smoke in the sky.

The backdrop to the attack was the nearly three-year-old, multisided war in Yemen between the Houthis and a Saudi-led military coalition that is backed by the United States.

 Increasingly, the conflict is seen as a proxy battle between Saudi and its Western allies and Iran.

Saudi and U.S. officials have accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with weapons, including ballistic missiles that were used in recent strikes on Saudi territory, a charge Iran has denied.

The Trump Administration has tried to use the accusations of weapons transfers to intensify international pressure on Iran.