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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 29 December 2017 > Hit and Missile

Hit and Missile

In Yemen, Tehran-backed rebels have secretly struck Saudi Arabia dozens of times with long-range missiles—yet another sign that Iran is winning the proxy war over the Middle East

WAR

DEATH RALLY Houthi supporters rally in the streets of Sanaa to celebrate the killing of Saleh, the former president of Yemen.
MOHAMMED HAMOUD/GETTY
MICHAL KRUMPHANZL/CTK PHOTO/ALAMY LIVE NEWS

“He rushed into her bedroom, threw her back across the bed, and ripped the telephone out of the wall.”

SOMEWHERE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN Yemen, the missile lifted off in a dense cloud of fire and smoke and began its arc over Saudi Arabia. After roaring north for some 600 miles, the Iranian-made Qiam-1 reached its target, the international airport just outside of Riyadh. The Saudis claim they blew the missile out of the sky with a U.S.-supplied Patriot interceptor, but experts now say the incoming missile exploded upon impact, narrowly missing the domestic airport terminal.

This November 4 attack, Middle East intelligence sources tell Newsweek on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters, was one of 87 such long-range missile strikes Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have launched against the Saudis in their nearly three-year war. The strikes—some 50 of which the Saudis have tried to keep secret—not only threaten to derail Riyadh’s ambitious plan to transform its oil-based economy into one more attractive to foreign investors; they’re also the latest sign that Iran and its proxies are thumping the kingdom in their fierce battle for dominance in the Middle East.

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