A Yemeni stands next to a crater following reported Arab coalition airstrikes on Oct. 27 in the Khamis Bani Saad district in al-Mahwit governorate. AFP
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The kingdom, however, claimed it flew toward the holy Muslim city of Mecca.Angry Saudis soon denounced the missile fire online with hashtags questioning the faith of Yemen's Shiite rebels known as Houthis, as other Sunni Arab leaders in the Gulf linked the attack to Shiite power Iran.The Saudi military said the missile, fired Thursday night from Yemen's northwestern Saada province, which borders the kingdom, caused no damage.The Saudi military has a supply of U.S.-made, surface-to-air Patriot missile batteries it previously has fired at Houthi-launched missiles.The kingdom's military said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency that it immediately targeted the area where the missile was launched in airstrikes.The Houthi-controlled satellite news channel Al-Masirah said the Yemeni rebels had fired a Volcano-1 variant missile at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, without mentioning Mecca. That airport is 75 kilometers northwest of Mecca.The Saudi military, however, stressed the missile was fired "toward" Mecca, without elaborating – the protection of the holy city is a key pillar of the Saudi royal family's prestige and the country's national identity.
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