Saudi-led coalition warns of 'painful' response over Yemen drones

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

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Recent deployments of drones and ballistic missiles by the Houthi movement in Yemen in strikes against a Saudi tanker, both inside worldwide waters and Saudi territory itself, reveal an enduring ability on the part of the Houthis to strike far beyond the limits of their own territory.

A ballistic missile, allegedly shot by Houthi rebels from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia, was shot down Monday night by the country's border forces, Arab media said.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said during a press conference that the majority of the platforms are located in Yemen's Saada province.

Riyadh said its air defences between Wednesday and Friday intercepted five ballistic missiles and two drones launched from rebel-held northern Yemen.

Col Al Malki added that the airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which is still under rebel control, was being used as a military base to orchestrate the drone strike.

The Saudi-backed government said in a statement Saturday that the drones are "made in Iran".

Iran backs the Huthis, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military coalition to intervene against the rebels the following year.

Tehran has denied arming the rebels, which would violate a United Nations weapons embargo placed in 2015.

After entering the war at the request of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi on March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition - which includes the UAE - has helped pro-government forces to retake much of the territory captured by the rebels.

The United Nations says 10,000 people have died in the fighting.