Yemen

Yemeni forces down Saudi-led spy drone with surface-to-air missile

Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have intercepted and targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition as it was flying in the skies over the country’s western coastal province of Hudaydah.

An unnamed Yemeni military official said Yemeni air defense forces and their allies shot down the drone with a surface-to-air missile as it was on a reconnaissance mission over Kilo 16 district of the province, located around 230 kilometers west of the capital Sana’a, on Saturday evening.

The source then censured the Saudi-led coalition for breaching an agreement reached between the warring sides during a round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Sweden in December 2018.

Delegates from the Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi attended the peace negotiations in Rimbo on the outskirts of the Swedish capital Stockholm. The talks resulted in the announcement of a break-through agreement.

The document included three provisions: a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port; an agreement on prisoner exchange; and a statement of understanding on the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Back in February, Yemeni army and allied fighters from Popular Committees intercepted and downed a Saudi-led reconnaissance drone while flying over Jabalya area in the al-Tuhayta district of Hudaydah province.

Also on Saturday, a civilian lost his life when Saudi border guards opened indiscriminate fire on residential buildings at al-Raqou area in the Monabbih district of Yemen’s mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Saudi border guards had shot and killed another civilian in the same Yemeni area three days earlier.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past nearly five years.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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