Ansarullah forces successfully targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) belonging to Saudi Arabia, as the country continues to develop a deterrence against Riyadh’s continued drone raids and surveillance flights over cities and civilian targets.
The Yemeni army and Popular Committees downed the drone on Thursday afternoon in al-Jabaliyah in the country’s west coast.
A source in the Air Defense unit told the al-Masirah news network that the drone was a US-made MQ-9 Reaper.
The Saudi air force launched a series of airstrikes on the wreckage of the drone to destroy it before it fell to the hands of the Yemeni fighters, the source added.
Yemeni forces seem to have developed a sophisticated air defense network to fight off Riyadh’s drone raids.
They downed an MQ-1 Predator last month, another US-made drone, using a surface-to-air missile.
The media bureau of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement announced in April that Yemeni air defense forces and their allies had shot down a Chinese-built medium-altitude and long-endurance Wing Loong drone with a surface-to-air missile.
Yemen’s air defenses also downed three more Saudi spy drones of unspecified models in various parts of the country.
In late March, Yemeni soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees intercepted and shot down another MQ-1 drone in the Hamdan district of Sana’a province.
The development comes as Yemeni fighters have achieved great strides in developing domestic attack drones and using them to orchestrate devastating retaliatory attacks on oil facilities and other vital Saudi targets.
Last month, the Houthi movement said about 300 critical targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as in Yemen were in its crosshairs.
The warning came after the Yemeni army launched retaliatory drone attacks on a major oil pumping station deep inside Saudi Arabia, forcing state crude giant Aramco to temporarily shut down the pipeline.
The ability to shoot down enemy drones and conduct drone offensives is the latest game-changing development in a years-long war by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies — mainly the UAE.
They had already stirred fear in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi by developing a formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles and conducting regular missile attacks against strategic targets in aggressor countries such as the Riyadh international airport.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the Riyadh-allied former regime and crush the Houthis — objectives that have failed to materialize due to Yemenis’ stiff resistance.
Since the war began, there have been tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Millions of Yemenis now subsist beneath the poverty line and hundreds of thousands of children are suffering and dying from malnutrition.
The Western-backed military aggression, coupled with a naval blockade, has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.