Saudi Arabia says Houthi drones 'doomed to fail' after foiled attack

Arab Coalition working to restore legitimacy and stability in Yemen, Saudi official says

Saudi led coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki gives a press conference at the King salman airbase in Riyadh on November 5, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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Saudi Arabia intercepted a Houthi drone on Tuesday that was launched from Yemen’s Amran province towards the kingdom, the country's state news agency said.

The Iran-backed rebels have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.

"All drone attacks launched by the rebels towards the kingdom are doomed to fail," Arab Coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki said.

The coalition managed to destroy the drone while it was still in Yemen’s airspace, he said.

"We are taking all measures to prevent civilian casualties when responding to such threats," Col Al Malki said.

Saudi Arabia is leading the Arab Coalition, which includes the UAE, and has been fighting in Yemen on behalf of the internationally recognised government since 2015, after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The repeated Houthi attacks demonstrate the "desperate measures" taken by the rebels, especially as they face extreme losses, Col Al Malki said.

Most of the attacks were intercepted by Saudi forces, but some have caused deaths and injuries, including two strikes on the kingdom's Abha airport in June and July.

"The coalition will continue to implement measures against the militia to halt its capabilities in accordance to international humanitarian law," Col Al Malki said.

He also denied reports that the coalition hit a detention centre in Yemen’s south-western province of Dhamar on Sunday.

"The coalition had proof that the site targeted at Dhamar was a Houthi military base," Col Al Malki said.

The Saudi official said the site was a "military facility" that was struck "in accordance with international humanitarian law".

The site in Dhamar was not registered with the UN and was not on the no-strike list, Col Al Malki said.

He said that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE were working to de-escalate the situation in different regions around the country and "restore the legitimacy of the government and security in Yemen".

The rebels' violence is complicating UN peace efforts and attempts to put into effect a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah, the main entry point for desperately needed food and medical supplies.

The truce, which was brokered in Sweden last December, was regarded as a first step towards achieving a political resolution to the conflict.