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Blast shakes Riyadh three days after projectile intercepted

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On Saturday, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition said it intercepted and destroyed a ‘hostile air target’ heading towards Riyadh [File: Ahmed Yosri/Reuters]

At least one loud explosion shook Riyadh on Tuesday, AFP correspondents reported, three days after the kingdom intercepted a projectile over the Saudi capital.

There was no immediate reaction from authorities in Saudi Arabia, which has come under repeated missile or drone attack from Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.

An explosion rattled windows across the Saudi capital at around 1:00 pm (1000 GMT), AFP correspondents and residents said. Some residents reported hearing two blasts on social media.

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On Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition, which backs Yemen’s internationally recognised government against the Huthis, said it had intercepted and destroyed a “hostile air target” heading towards Riyadh, state television reported.

The brief statement did not identify the source of the target and the Huthis said they were not involved.

Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport said there were a number of flight delays following Saturday’s incident.

Saudi Arabia has led a military intervention against the Huthis since 2015 and has repeatedly been targeted with cross-border attacks.

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It is rare, however, for drones or missiles launched by the Huthis to reach the kingdom’s capital — about 700 kilometres (435 miles) from the border.

The incident comes only days after Joe Biden was sworn in as US president, replacing Donald Trump.

On Monday, the new administration froze sanctions on dealings with the Huthis for one month as it reviews a terror blacklisting imposed under Trump that aid groups warn will aggravate a humanitarian crisis.

Relief groups say they have no alternative but to deal with the rebels, who control much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

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