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The New Arab Staff

Yemen's Houthis down 'US spy drone' near Saudi border

A video of the downed drone was shared online [Twitter]

Date of publication: 3 August, 2020

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A US spy drone was downed by Yemen's Houthis near the border with Saudi Arabia, the rebels said on Sunday.
Yemen's Houthi rebels said they downed an alleged US spy drone near the Saudi border, the group said on Monday.

"We have shot down a US-made RQ-20 Puma-style reconnaissance plane in Harad, north of Yemen, near Jizan city of Saudi Arabia," Yahya Sarea, Houthi spokesman, said on Twitter.

The operation was recorded by the rebels information centre, Sarea added, though he failed to identify who or which state was operating the drone. A video of the alleged incident was shared on Twitter.

More than 100,000 people have died in the Yemen war, which began when Houthi rebels stormed the capital Sanaa and then marched south.

The conflict intensified after the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 against the Houthis, with waves of airstrikes that killed thousands and a blockade that has devastated the country.

The rebels have in recent years intensified their attacks and have targeted Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh, with a series of missile and drone strikes.

The rebel's military might has seen a serious advance, with the Pentagon revealing reports that Iran has continued to deliver weapons to their Yemeni allies, while other reports suggested that drones used by the Houthis are becoming deadlier and more accurate over long ranges.

Last month, the Houthis said they have a bank of vital targets in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, in a stark warning after increased long-range attacks on the neighbouring kingdom.

The rebels, who are backed by Iran, said the targets were determined through detailed intelligence, though he fell short of revealing the source. 

Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, the chief of the groups' intelligence and reconnaissance body made the remarks on Sunday, according to the rebel-run Saba news agency.

The comments came as the Houthis claimed 
Sunday night drone and missile strikes that targeted Saudi military and civilian facilities.

The rebel group claimed to have to have have targeted military facilities and airports south of the kingdom, naming Khamis Mushait, Abha, Najran, while saying there was also a successful strike on an oil facility in Jizan.

"With many drones our armed forces targeted military aircraft, pilot accommodation and Patriot systems in Khamis Mushait, and other military targets at Abha, Jizan and Najran airports," Yahya Sarea, the Houthi military spokesman said, according to Reuters.

Read also: Yemen in Focus: Houthi attack on Riyadh a 'bargaining chip' amid ongoing talks

"Additionally, the giant oil facility in the Jizan industrial zone. The strike was accurate."

There has been no confirmation from Riyadh about any successful strikes by the Houthis, but a 400,000-barrel-per-day Saudi Aramco refinery operates in Jizan.

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