Yemen’s Houthis say they launched drone attacks on Saudi capital
A Houthi spokesman claims four drones targeted positions in Riyadh but no confirmation yet from Saudi Arabia.
Drone aircrafts on display at an exhibition at an unidentified location in Yemen released by the Houthi Media Office [File: Reuters]
1 Apr 2021
A spokesman for the Houthi movement says the group carried out drone attacks targeting positions in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, amid diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire in war-torn Yemen.
There was no confirmation from the Saudi authorities to Thursday’s claim but in recent weeks the Houthis, who have been battling a six-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen, have launched numerous missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi oil installations, airports and military sites.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led military coalition said it destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile on its launchpad in Yemen, Saudi state TV reported, adding that the weapon was being prepared for launch towards the gas-rich Yemeni province of Marib. The Houthis did not immediately confirm the claim.
The Houthis have rejected a ceasefire proposal made last month by Riyadh because it did not include the lifting of an air and sea blockade imposed by a Saudi-led military coalition on the territories controlled by the rebels.
The conflict, seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has caused what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Last month, the coalition – which intervened militarily in 2015, months after the Houthis captured large parts of northern Yemen including Sanaa – said it struck a missile and drone assembly plant in the Yemeni capital.
The United Nations said air raids also hit the Houthi-controlled Salif grains port, north of Hodeidah, and two projectiles hit a warehouse and the living quarters of a food production company.
The latest escalation last month came amid renewed diplomatic efforts by the United States and the United Nations to reach a ceasefire that would pave the way for a resumption of UN-sponsored political talks to end the conflict in Yemen.
The Houthis have defended the cross-border attacks, saying they are in response to six years of a devastating military offensive in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition.
The Saudi-led coalition aims to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government, to stem what it perceives as Iran’s growing influence in the region.
Rights groups and international observers have criticised the Saudi-led war that has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions and pushed the Middle East’s poorest nation towards an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.