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UAE claims to shoot down drone from Iran

The air force of the United Arab Emirates shot down an Iranian-made drone in Yemen, state news agency WAM reported today, quoting a Yemeni military officer.

The UAE is a member of a mostly Arab Gulf military coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is backing Yemen's internationally recognised government in a nearly two-year war against the Iran-allied Houthi group.

It appeared to be the first time the coalition had accused the Houthis of deploying drones made by their regional arch-rival Iran.

"Yemeni forces…spotted preparation to launch the plane from atop a light transport vehicle and coordinated and communicated with the UAE air force operating in Yemen, which did its part in dealing with the plane, destroying it with an [surface-to-air] missile," WAM quoted the officer saying.

Major General Ahmed Saif Al-Yafai added that the incident occurred in the area around the Red Sea port of Al-Mokha, the scene of heavy fighting between Iran-backed Houthi and Gulf-backed Yemeni forces this week.

There was no immediate reaction to the allegation by Iran or the Houthi group, which has repeatedly denied Arab Gulf accusations that it serves an Iranian agenda in Yemen or has been armed by the Islamic Republic, their fellow Shia coreligionists.

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