Saudi-led coalition says it intercepts Houthi drone

Saudi-led coalition says it destroyed an explosive drone fired towards Khamis Mushait near Abha International Airport.

Abha airport, Saudi Arabia
There was no Saudi confirmation of a hit on Abha [File: AFP]

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said on Tuesday it had destroyed an explosive drone fired towards Khamis Mushait in the south of Saudi Arabia.

A military spokesman for the Houthi movement then said they had fired a drone at and hit Abha International Airport, which is near Khamis Mushait, according to a report by the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV.

There was no Saudi confirmation of a hit on Abha and the Houthi report could not be independently verified.

Riyadh says it intercepts most of the drones and missiles which the Houthis say they launch at airports, airbases and energy infrastructure, but some do inflict damage.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis took control of the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

The Houthi group, which holds most of northern Yemen, has kept up regular cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and a ground offensive in Yemen’s Marib region at a time the United States and the United Nations are pushing for a ceasefire agreement.

The Houthis have been trying to seize the capital of the oil-rich Marib region and the Saudi Arabia-backed government’s last significant pocket of territory in the north since February.

Riyadh and the Yemeni government have welcomed a truce but the Houthis want a sea and air blockade fully lifted.

The UN humanitarian office says the war has caused an estimated 233,000 deaths, including 131,000 from indirect causes such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure.

Riyadh has faced criticism for its bombing campaign that has created what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Aid groups report more than 20 million people in the impoverished Arab nation are experiencing food insecurity and half of them are at risk of famine.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies