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ballistic missile


Saudi Arabia has intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, after a loud explosion was heard near Riyadh airport on November 4.

According to officials, quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency, the missile was destroyed over the capital and fragments landed in the airport area.

A TV channel linked to Houthi rebels in Yemen said the missile was fired at the King Khalid International Airport.

The Saudi civil aviation authority said that air traffic was not disrupted.

Saudi forces have reported shooting down Houthi missiles in the past, though none has come so close to a major population centre.

Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, said: “The missile was launched indiscriminately to target the civilian and populated areas.

“Shattered fragments from the intercepted missile landed in an uninhabited area of the airport and there were no injuries.”

Witnesses reported seeing parts of the missile in the airport’s car park, Al-Arabiya reported.

Residents in the north of Riyadh said their windows were rattled by a loud blast that was followed by the roar of low-flying aircraft.

Image source Wikimedia

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The Houthi-run Saba News in Yemen said the missile had been a Burkan H2.

The rebel group is believed to have access to a stockpile of Scud ballistic missiles and home-grown variants. Saudi forces have previously brought them down with Patriot surface-to-air missiles bought from the US.

In May, a day before President Donald Trump was due to arrive in Riyadh for a visit, the Houthis fired a missile towards the city, but it was shot down 120 miles from the capital.

Yemen has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

Saudi Arabia is leading a campaign to defeat the Houthis, and is the biggest power in an international air coalition that has bombed the rebel group since 2015.

On November 1, a suspected strike by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 26 people at a hotel and market in northern Yemen, medics and local officials said.

The coalition, which rights groups say has bombed schools, hospitals, markets and residential areas, said it struck a “legitimate military target”.

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According to South Korean officials, North Korea has test-fired three ballistic missiles into the waters off its east coast.

The ballistic missiles were launched from the Hwangju region, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on September 5, according to the Yonhap news agency.

There was no information on the types of missile fired or how far they flew.

North Korea is barred from testing nuclear or ballistic missile technology, but recent months have seen it carry out a string of missile tests.

Photo KCNA

Photo KCNA

The secretive country last fired a ballistic missile just two weeks ago from a submarine off its eastern coast, as South Korea and the US began annual military drills which routinely anger the North. On that occasion the KN-11 rocket that was fired flew for about 300 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan.

The latest test took place as world leaders meet at the annual G20 economic summit, being hosted for the first time in China.

Last month’s rocket launch was considered its most successful test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. A test of mid-range missiles in June was also considered successful.

Tensions have soared since North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test in January.

In July the US and South Korea said they would deploy an anti-missile system to counter North Korea’s threats, but this has been met with anger from Pyongyang and opposition from China.

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According to South Korean and US officials, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its east coast.

The KN-11 missile was launched from waters near Sinpo and flew about 300 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan, a US official said.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe said it fell inside Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, calling it a “reckless act”.

The move comes as South Korea and the US begin annual military drills, which routinely anger Pyongyang.

Ulchi Freedom involves about 80,000 US and South Korean troops in a largely computer-simulated defense of South Korea from a fictional North Korean invasion.

Photo KCNA

Photo KCNA

North Korea, which sees these drills as a rehearsal for invasion, recently warned they were pushing the Korean peninsula towards the brink of war and threatened a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” in retaliation.

The communist country is banned by the UN from any use of ballistic or nuclear technology. But in recent months it has carried out repeated missile launches, and is believed to be close to conducting its fifth test of a nuclear device.

Today’s launch appears to have been its most successful test yet of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

SLBMs are of particular concern because of the mobility of submarines and the ease with which launch preparation can remain undetected.

South Korea’s military said it “seemed to be aimed at raising military tension in response to the Seoul-Washington military drill”, the Yonhap news agency reports.

It said it would “sternly and strongly respond to any provocation by North Korea”.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe confirmed reports that the missile fell into Japan’s ADIZ, an area of airspace over which a country exercises security controls.

He said it was an “unforgivable, reckless act” which “poses a grave threat to Japan’s security”.

The US State Department said it “strongly condemned” this, and previous missile tests, and would raise concerns at the UN.

North Korea’s launch also coincided with a meeting of foreign ministers from Japan, China and South Korea in Tokyo.

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According to South Korean sources, North Korea appears to have fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its eastern coast.

It is not clear whether the test was authentic, and if it was, whether it will be considered a success by North Korea.

A successful test would be significant because submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) are hard to detect.

The latest test comes as North Korea gears up for a rare and significant party congress next month.

North Korea is banned from nuclear tests and activities that use ballistic missile technology under UN sanctions dating back to 2006.

A South Korea defense ministry spokesman said: “North Korea launched a projectile which was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile around 6:30 pm in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) near the north-eastern port of Sinpo.”

Photo KCNA

Photo KCNA

“We are keeping close tabs on the North Korean military and maintaining a full defence posture,” he said.

North Korea has yet to report the test in its own official media. The secretive state has claimed to have carried out similar tests before but some doubt those claims.

The US says photographs supposedly showing one launch in December were manipulated and others think North Korea has fired missiles from submerged platforms, but not submarines.

Regarding this latest test, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile travelled about 19 miles, whereas a typical SLBM can travel at least 186 miles.

North Korea has so far conducted four nuclear tests – the first one in October 2006 and the latest in January this year.

The UN Security Council responded to the latter by imposing its strongest sanctions to date over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

In March 2016, North Korea said it had developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, although experts cast doubt on the claims.

Analysts believe North Korea may be gearing up for a fifth test as a show of strength ahead of the North Korean Workers’ Party Congress, the first since 1980.

South Korea has announced a deal with the US to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile system, saying this will counter the threat from North Korea.

The whole of the North, along with parts of China and Japan, will be within South Korea’s new 800 km range.

South Korea had been restricted to missiles with a range of 300 km under a previous security deal.

It was revised after North Korea tested a long-range rocket launch in April.

The US has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea and provides security guarantees for its ally.

A spokeswoman for President Lee Myung-bak said there was no imminent change of strategy, but the new agreement was a political symbol of the strong alliance with the US and a deterrent to Pyongyang.

“The biggest purpose of the revision is curbing military provocations by North Korea,” said another official, National Security Adviser Chun Yung-woo.

Under a 2001 accord, South Korea had been prevented from developing and deploying ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 km (186 miles) because of concerns this could trigger a regional arms race.

The new deal puts North Korean military facilities which were previously out of range within reach, as well as parts of China and Japan.

It will also allow South Korea to triple the payload from 500 kg for missiles over shorter distances.

Correspondents say Seoul has for a long time argued for an extension of the range limit, but this took on greater urgency earlier this year.

In April, North Korea conducted a failed long-range rocket launch that it said was an attempt to put a satellite into orbit.

Critics said the launch was a disguised test of missile technology, banned under UN resolutions.

Three weeks ago, the US and Japan agreed to set up a second missile defence system on Japanese soil in response to the North Korean threat.