Saudi Arabia shot down a Scud missile fired by Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen that was targeted at one of the kingdom's largest air bases.

NPR's Deborah Amos, reporting from Riyadh, said the Cold War-era Scud was taken down by the U.S.-supplied Patriot missile defense system.

The thwarted rebel attack comes after three Saudi soldiers and a border guard were killed in an earlier border skirmish, she says.

Deborah says: "Saudi Arabia's punishing war in Yemen has moved to the Saudi border with anti-government Houthi rebels launching border attacks and, for the first time, firing a Scud missile early Saturday morning. The target was a southwest border city, home to the largest air force base in the kingdom."

Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of Arab states that have conducted airstrikes against Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since March. The foiled Scud attack marks the first time the missile has been used by the rebels against Saudi Arabia; however, the Russian-built surface-to-surface rocket was used by factions in Yemen's civil war in the 1990s.

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