DUBAI (Reuters) – The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen said it had intercepted six explosive drones fired towards the kingdom on Friday, with the Houthis claiming to have launched attacks into southern Saudi Arabia since dawn.
The Iran-aligned Houthis have recently stepped up cross-border drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities, mostly targeting the southern part of the country. The coalition says it intercepts most attacks.
The Houthis fired the six intercepted drones towards Khamis Mushait near the Yemen border in attacks since dawn, the coalition said in statements carried by Saudi state news agency SPA and Ekhbariya TV.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in Twitter posts on Friday that three drones had been fired at dawn, and five in the afternoon. They hit Abha International Airport and King Khalid Air Base, in the Khamis Mushait area, he said.
Yemen’s Houthi forces said on Thursday they fired a missile and hit a Saudi Aramco facility in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. There has been no confirmation from the Saudi authorities.
The United States and United Nations have renewed peace efforts as fighting has also intensified in Yemen’s gas-rich Marib region.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on two Houthi military leaders.
The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are fighting a corrupt system.
Reporting by Lisa Barrington; editing by Nick Macfie and Edmund Blair
IMAGE: Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 4, 2021. Picture taken January 4, 2021. Iranian Army / WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS