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In this January 2015 photo, Houthi fighters patrol a road in Yemen's capital Sana'a.

Saudi Arabia's air defences on Wednesday "intercepted" a ballistic missile fired from rebel-held Yemen at Riyadh, a military spokesman said, adding two others were shot down in southern Saudi Arabia. The location may have been selected by the kingdom to avoid Houthi missile strikes during Sunday's summit.

An Associated Press reporter in Riyadh heard three loud explosions overhead just before sunset Wednesday.

This comes hours after Yemen's Houthi rebel group announced that they had launched drone rocket strikes against Saudi Arabia, according to an update on their al-Masirah news channel.

The Houthis and their allies have used the drones to disable Patriot missile defence systems deployed by Saudi-led forces in Yemen, said vehicle.

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The Houthis claimed attacks on Abha airport and Saudi Aramco, located in Jizan, via Al Masirah, publishing an infographic of the "Qasef 1" drone. The group unveiled the Qasef-1 drone past year.

The attacks mark the fourth time in five months that missiles have flown over Riyadh, as the Houthis step up efforts to demonstrate they can reach the Saudi capital, threatening to escalate a regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of funding and arming the rebel movement, a charge Iran has denied.

The arms monitor Conflict Armament Research (CAR) said it had evidence showing the Qasef-1 and other Houthi kit was made in Iran and was not of indigenous design and construction "in contrast to Houthi statements". Earlier this month, the coalition said the rebels attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea, causing "minor damage" to the ship.

He said Saudi forces also intercepted two missiles in the southern Jizan and Najran provinces close to the border with Yemen.

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