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Yemen rebel missile shot down near Saudi capital: coalition

© AFP/File | Yemeni female fighters supporting the Shiite Huthi rebels, and carrying weapons used for ceremonial purposes, take part in an anti-Saudi rally in the capital Sanaa on January 17, 2017

RIYADH (AFP) - 

Saudi Arabia said it shot down a ballistic missile, fired by Yemeni rebels, southwest of the capital Riyadh late Friday ahead of US President Donald Trump's arrival.

Air defence units "intercepted a ballistic missile that was launched by Huthi militias over an unpopulated area", 180 kilometres from Riyadh, the Saudi-led coalition said in a statement.

The strike would be the longest attempted by the Huthi rebels and their allies, former members of Yemen's security forces allied with ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, since they began retaliatory attacks against the kingdom two years ago.

Occasional ballistic missile attacks, as well as more frequent short-range rocket fire over the southern border, have been conducted following coalition air strikes against the rebels in Yemen.

The coalition intervened in Yemen more than two years ago to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Huthi-run Al-Masirah television said on its Twitter account that rebel "rocket forces launched a Volcano-2 ballistic missile on the capital of Saudi Arabia".

Trump is due to arrive on Saturday for two days of summits with Saudi, Gulf and Muslim leaders.

© 2017 AFP