Saudi forces intercept Houthi scout drone over Abha airport

Saudi forces intercept Houthi scout drone over Abha airport

The attacks underscore how the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, continue to retain a range of potentially lethal and disruptive ways to hit the kingdom, despite more than three years of devastating Saudi airstrikes on Yemen to try and roll back Houthi control of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and other northern strongholds.

Saudi media reported that a ballistic missile was intercepted over the city.

One of the drones was targeting the Abha global airport in Asir province, which led to a temporary suspension of air traffic, and a second was approaching a "civilian object" in Jizan province, Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Multiple blasts were heard, and plumes of smoke could be seen from the capital. More than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the conflict and millions in the impoverished country have been pushed to the brink of starvation.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of backing the Houthis, a charge Iran has denied.

According to weapons monitor Conflict Armament Research (CAR), quoted by Reuters, CAR has evidence that the Qasif-1 drone used in today's strike was made in Iran, "in contrast to Houthi statements".

Saudi forces intercept Houthi scout drone over Abha airport
Saudi forces intercept Houthi scout drone over Abha airport

The facility reportedly belonged to the oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Qasef 1 is a drone aircraft previously unveiled by the militant rebel group.

Last month the Saudi army intercepted seven missiles over Riyadh launched by the rebels.

The Houthis and their allies have used the drones to disable Patriot missile defence systems deployed by Saudi-led forces in Yemen, said auto.

Al Masirah, a TV network run by the Houthis, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying the rebels fired a Burkan 2-H, a Scud-type missile, towards the Saudi defence ministry.

Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea.

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