06 October Thursday

Saudi forces intercept Houthi drone aimed at Khamis Mushayt

Anas YassinUpdated: Monday Jun 7, 2021

Image: File Photo/SPA

Manama : Saudi air defenses forces intercepted and shot down an explosive-laden drone launched by Houthi militia of Yemen on early Sunday.

The drone targeted the southern city of Khamis Mushayt was shot down before reaching its poit, Al Ekhbariya TV said.

It contradicted a statement on Twitter by a spokesman for the Iran-aligned Houthis.

Reuters quoted Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea as claiming on social media that the Houthis aimed at King Khalid airbase in Khamis Mushayt with a drone earlier on Sunday and that the “hit was precise.”

But, there was no confirmation from Saudi authorities of any damages.

The report came a day after Saudi air defenses shot down an unspecified ‘hostile air target’ aimed at the Red Sea port city of Jeddah early Saturday.

The Houthis have stepped up the cross-border drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities recently, mostly targeting the southern part of the country, which borders Yemen. The Kingdom has intercepted hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles fired from Yemen so far.

On Saturday, a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi rebels hit a petrol station in Yemen's northwestern city of Marib, killing at least 17 civilians and injuring five others.

The attack occurred while dozens of cars were waiting at the station to be refueled, local sources said.

Fourteen of them were killed by the initial blast as they queued for fuel, local sources said. Three of them died in an explosives-rigged drone attack against two ambulances which had rushed to provide medical aid to the victims, the report added.

Al Houthis started a major offensive to seize Marib in February, the last government stronghold in north Yemen.

Yemen plunged into war after Al Houthis toppled the internationally recognised government there and overran parts of the impoverished country including the capital Sana’a.

Last week, the US blamed Al Houthis for the continued conflict. The war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN. In March, the World Food Programme sounded an alarm on Yemen's severe fuel problem that has been causing people to queue in long lines at overcrowded petrol stations for hours, and sometimes days at a time.

In February, Saudi offered the Houthis a new peace plan to end the nearly six-year conflict, which included a comprehensive UN-monitored ceasefire, reopening of Sanaa airport, easing restrictions on Hodeidah port and restarting the political dialogue in the country. However, the rebels rejected the offer and stepped up their cross-border attacks.