Yemen's Houthis down US drone in Dhamar

Yemen's Houthis down US drone in Dhamar
Al-Masirah TV said Yemen’s Houthi rebels downed a US drone in Dhamar on Wednesday.
3 min read
21 August, 2019
The US said the rebels downed another drone in June [AFP]
Yemen's Houthi rebels downed a US drone in Dhamar, southeast of the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, according to reports by the movement's Al-Masirah TV.

The US said it was "aware of reporting that a US MQ-9 was shot down over Yemen" but said "we do not have any further information to provide's Central Command.

Last June, the US military confirmed Houthi rebels shot down a government-operated drone with alleged assistance from Iran, which backs the group.

Since the 2015 Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, Houthi forces have also shot down numerous Saudi drones during the country’s conflict.

But the rebel group has over the previous month expanded its use of drones to target the neighbouring Saudi kingdom, which is leading the military coalition against them in Yemen.

Most recently, an attack claimed by the Yemeni rebels sparked a fire in a Saudi gas plant on Saturday but caused no casualties or disruption to production, state-owned energy company Saudi Aramco said.

"Saudi Aramco's response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility," the energy giant said.

"There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco's oil operations."

Earlier on Saturday the Houthis issued a statement claiming a "massive" attack against a Saudi gas installation, which they said was hit by ten drones.

A rebel spokesman, cited by the insurgent television station Al-Masirah, also vowed "fiercer and larger attacks" against Saudi Arabia should it retaliate.

Just days earlier, the rebels launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, al-Masirah TV said on Twitter.

Nine civilians were wounded in a 3 July Houthi attack on Abha airport, the coalition said.

A 12 June missile attack on the same airport wounded 26 civilians, drawing warnings of "stern action" from the coalition.

And on 23 June, a rebel attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian and wounded 21 other civilians, the coalition said.

Houthi-held areas have faced persistent bombing by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015, which exacerbate following Houthi drone attacks on the kingdom.

The war in Yemen has inflicted a heavy civilian death toll and drawn criticism from the international community for triggering a dire humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, a charge Tehran denies.

The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around Aden.

Since then, the conflict has killed at least 91,600 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, which tracks the violence.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.

Meanwhile, tensions in the Gulf have soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off airstrikes against Iran at the last minute in June after Tehran downed an American drone.

The US and Saudi Arabia have also blamed Iran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab