Saudi downs two attack drones from Yemen: coalition

Saudi air defence forces intercepted two drones launched by Huthi rebels from neighbouring Yemen, state media reported Tuesday, as the Iran-aligned militia steps up attacks on the kingdom.

The drones targeted Khamis Mushait in the kingdom’s south on Monday and caused no damage or casualties, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said in a brief statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The rebels said earlier via their news outlet Al-Masirah that they had targeted the King Khalid airbase near Khamis Mushait.

The attacks come as SPA reported the coalition was intensifying air raids on Huthi positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah.

The rebels have stepped up drone and missile attacks on the kingdom amid tensions between Shiite power Iran and the United States, Saudi Arabia’s main ally.

Last month, the Saudi air force shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by Huthi rebels that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the coalition said.

The airport is used by thousands of civilians every day, but the coalition reported no casualties and warned the rebels of a strong response.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back an advance by the Huthi rebels, who still hold the capital Sanaa, and to restore to power President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

It has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.