Saudi defences 'intercept' 10 Houthi drones
Saudi air defences on Saturday intercepted and destroyed 10 drones fired at the kingdom by Houthi rebels in Yemen, state media reported, quoting the Saudi-led military coalition battling the insurgents.
The official Saudi Press Agency reported that seven of the drones targeted regions in southern Saudi Arabia. Three targeted the Khamis Mushait region, also in the south and home to military installations, it said.
"The interception operations were successful," the coalition said in a statement, adding that the drones were packed with explosives and seven were knocked out in Yemeni air space.
Earlier on Saturday, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels tweeted that one drone was launched in the morning towards the King Khaled air base in Khamis Mushait.
The developments come as a diplomatic push by the United Nations, the United States and regional countries to secure a ceasefire in Yemen after more than six years of devastating conflict have failed.
The outgoing UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths on Tuesday told the Security Council his own efforts over the past three years to end the war have been "in vain".
"It is with deep regret that I report today that the parties have not overcome their differences," said Griffiths.
Yemen has been devastated by a civil war between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthis since 2014, and millions of civilians are on the brink of famine, according to the UN.
The Saudi-led coalition has controlled Yemen's airspace since it launched a military campaign in 2015 to prop up the country's internationally recognised government.
The Houthis have repeatedly demanded the re-opening of Sanaa airport before any ceasefire.
"We have offered different solutions to bridge (the government and Houthi) positions. Unfortunately, none of these suggestions have been accepted by the parties," Griffiths said on Tuesday.
"I hope that the efforts undertaken by Oman and others following my own visits to Sanaa and Riyadh will bear fruit," he added, referring to mediation efforts.
An Omani delegation visited Yemen's capital Sanaa last week and met with Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, leader of the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group which has been in control of Sanaa since 2014.
Saudi Arabia has led a campaign against the Houthis since 2014, only years after the 2011 revolution overthrew President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The war has destroyed much of Yemen’s infrastructure, as the country suffers from one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
The Sanaa government was exiled to the southern de-facto capital, Aden, where a power-sharing government backed by the Saudi on one side and the UAE on the other has also been gripped in a power struggle.