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UN Security Council condemns Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

International body also expresses concern at reports of violations of arms embargo on Houthi leaders
Photo distributed by Houthi media unit shows launch of ballistic missile on 25 March (Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned a barrage of missile attacks against Saudi Arabia by Yemen's Houthi group and expressed grave concern at reports of violations of a UN arms embargo on Houthi leaders.

Saudi forces said they shot down three missiles over Riyadh shortly before midnight on Sunday. Debris fell on a home in the capital, killing an Egyptian man and wounding two others. They said air defences also repelled missiles fired at the southern Saudi cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait.

In a statement, the 15-member Security Council expressed alarm at a Houthi threat to continue such attacks in the region.

Dubbed by UN officials as the world's "largest man-made humanitarian crisis," Yemen has witnessed a massive cholera outbreak, shortages in basic needs and more than 10,000 deaths.

Millions of Yemenis live under threat of mass starvation and disease, at the mercy of combatants who have sometimes cut off food and medical supplies.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern at the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen and the devastating humanitarian impact of the conflict on civilians," the statement said.

Since March 2015, Riyadh has led a bombing campaign in Yemen to push Houthi rebels out of the capital and reinstall the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as a proxy for its archrival Iran, but the rebels deny receiving military help from Tehran.

UN experts reported to the Security Council in January that Iran had violated UN sanctions on Yemen because "it failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer" of ballistic missiles and other equipment to the Houthi group.

The UN Security Council statement on Wednesday did not identify the violator of the arms embargo.

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Last month, Russia vetoed a Western bid for the United Nations Security Council to call out Tehran for failing to prevent its weapons from falling into the hands of the Houthis. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.

Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman secured arms deals from the UK and the US earlier this month, despite growing concerns from human rights campaigners about the war in Yemen.

The UN Security Council has not passed any measures against supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition.