Houthis down Saudi surveillance drone in Yemeni border province

Houthis down Saudi surveillance drone in Yemeni border province
2 min read
31 December, 2016
The drone was downed in Jilan province while surveilling a Houthi military compound, according to reports. Houthis have felled a number of Saudi drones in the country's ongoing civil war
Houthi forces took control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 [AFP]

Pro-Houthi media claimed that a Saudi surveillance drone was brought down after by rebel fighters after flying over a Houthi military facility in Yemen's Jizan province. 

Houthi forces have shot down numerous Saudi-drones during the country’s now 20 month conflict.

Another drone was shot down in Jizan - border regime with Saudi Arabia that has seen numerous clashes - in mid-October, with a further felled in the country's capital Sanaa in late September. 

In August, Riyadh finalised the sale of an undisclosed number of lethal armed drones from a Chinese aviation company, developed as cheaper alternatives to Western models.

It raised concerns among rights groups that they could be used in attacks in Yemen. 

Saudi Arabia has received widespread criticism for its military campaigns against Houthi targets in Yemen, in support of the exiled government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

In October a Saudi attack on a funeral attended by Houthi officials in Sanaa resulted in over 140 deaths. 

At that time both the US and UK governments said they would reconsider their arms relationships with Riyadh.

However, both continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia while Washington also routinely carries out drone strikes on al-Qaeda targets in Yemen.

For their part, the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, and aligned with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been criticised for cross-border attacks on Saudi territory, attacks on shipping in the Bab al-Mandab strait, and accused by the UN of using civilians as human shields.

Yemen's 20-month-old conflict has killed more than 7,000 people and wounded nearly 37,000, the United Nations says.

The Houthis overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the impoverished country in September 2014. It prompted a Saudi-led Arab military coalition to intervene six months later in support of President Hadi.

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