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Yemen: Houthis take down US drone

Houthi fighters with their Rocket-Propelled Grenade launchers [FOCUS NOW/Facebook]
Houthi fighters with their Rocket-Propelled Grenade launchers [FOCUS NOW/Facebook]

The Houthi armed group shot down a US spy drone over Hudaydah yesterday, the Houthi-run Ansarollah reported.

A military source in the air defence unit claims that a “US MQ9” drone was shot down. The source went on to highlight that they destroyed the same model drone back in October 2017.

The United States is assisting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen by refuelling aircrafts and providing local intelligence on targets on the ground. The US has been striking Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since 2002 in Yemen, with drone strikes and counter-terrorism raids.

The US is not at war with the Houthi armed group, and some senators have taken issue with helping the Saud-led coalition in Yemen. Senators from both sides of the political spectrum accused the US of not having a coherent strategy in the Yemen civil war, as the line between war on terrorism and the civil war are evidently blurring.

The Yemen war intensified when the Saudi-led coalition was invited to launch a military air war campaign in March 2015. Since then, Yemen has remained in a stalemate with the Houthi group controlling large swathes of territory from Sana’a to Saada governorate.

Read: Coalition accuses Houthis of attacking Saudi oil tanker

Hudaydah is a strategic port city which the Saudi-led coalition has been eager to retake from Houthi control. But the former UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheik, warned against attacking the port city over potential catastrophic consequences to Yemen last year. Martin Griffiths, the new special envoy to Yemen, echoed the same concern over attacking Hudaydah at the UN Security Council this week.

Drones are extensively used in Yemen by all sides of the conflict. The Houthis used a drone to target Saudi Arabia’s primary oil company, Saudi Aramco. The group went on to claim on the same day that it conducted an attack on Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia’s Asir province.

Three years on, Yemen has witnessed 10,000 deaths according to the United Nations and civilians remain trapped in the middle of cross fire, with dwindling supplies of basic amenities and lack of access to sufficient water, sanitation and food.

Read: US Senator to Saudi Crown Prince: Help the poor in Gaza

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