Saudi-led coalition downs 6 armed drones launched by Houthis

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Mar 5, 2021

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen says its downed six armed drones fired by the Houthis on Friday, the newest in a surge of insurgent assaults on the Gulf kingdom. 

“Joint Coalition Forces have intercepted and destroyed this afternoon [Friday] a bomb-laden UAV launched systematically and deliberately by the terrorist Houthi militia to target civilians and civilian objects in Khamis Mushait,” coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki stated, referencing the southwestern Saudi metropolis near the Yemen border. 

In an announcement carried by Saudi state information company SPA, Malki added that the armed drone was the sixth thwarted by the coalition since Friday morning. 

The Iran-aligned rebels have upped their assaults on neighboring Saudi Arabia in current weeks, launching near-daily missiles and explosive drones throughout the border. The newest drone assaults come a day after the Houthis stated they fired a winged Quds-2 missile at a Saudi oil plant within the Red Sea metropolis of Jeddah. 

The Houthis have been battling Riyadh since 2015, when Saudi Arabia assembled a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Arab states to intervene in Yemen’s struggle after the Houthis wrested management of the capital and expelled the internationally acknowledged authorities. Over half a decade of civil struggle has killed greater than 100,000 individuals, pushed the nation to the sting of famine and created what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. 

The Houthi escalation follows President Joe Biden’s announcement final month that he can be ending assist for the coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen and halting related arms gross sales. Biden additionally revoked the Donald Trump administration’s terrorist designation of the Houthi rebels, citing issues the blacklisting may intervene with the supply of essential humanitarian assist. 

But following a spate of Houthi cross-border assaults, the US Treasury on Tuesday introduced new sanctions on two Houthi army leaders, Mansur al-Saadi, the top of the Houthis’ naval forces, and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, head of the rebels’ air power. 

Reuters reported that Biden’s particular envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, met with Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul-Salam in Oman’s capital, Muscat, on Feb. 26. State Department spokesperson Ned Price declined to verify the stories.  

The rebels are in the meantime urgent forward with an offensive on the gas-rich Yemeni province of Marib, which till now was largely spared from the grueling battle. The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian disaster if the Houthi offensive on Marib, the final main stronghold of the Saudi-backed authorities, is profitable. Some 2 million internally displaced individuals reside within the area and they’re going to have nowhere protected to flee, assist teams warn.