Turkey strongly condemned Friday a missile attack by Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia Thursday on Mecca – a sacred place for Muslims, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

“We are glad that the attack was blocked by Saudi security forces,” the statement said.

A Saudi-led military coalition on Thursday announced it had intercepted a “ballistic missile”, some 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Mecca, which, coalition officials claimed, had been fired by Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia.

The official Saudi Press Agency quoted a coalition commander as saying the missile was fired from Yemen’s northeastern Saada province, a traditional Houthi stronghold.

The coalition responded by “targeting the area from which the missile was fired,” the commander said without elaborating.

The alleged ballistic missile launch was not the first incident of its kind.

On 9 October, the coalition announced the successful interception of a missile, which, it alleged, had likewise been fired towards Mecca by Houthi militiamen.

Yemen has been wracked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing members of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

The conflict escalated in March of last year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Muslim allies launched a massive military campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring the country’s embattled government.
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