Saudi-led coalition shoots down Yemeni rebel drone targeting Khamis Mushait

Attack was aimed at residential areas in southern Saudi city, coalition spokesman says

epa06673850 Colonel Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition forces against Houthi forces, addresses a news conference in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, 16 April 2018. Officials said that  Riyadh Air Defense intercepted five missiles and two unmanned aircraft over the past few days.  EPA/Ahmed Yosri
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The Saudi-led military coalition shot down a drone launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels on Sunday morning towards Khamis Mushait in south-west Saudi Arabia.

"The coalition forces intercepted and downed a drone launched from the city of Sanaa in the direction of Khamis Mushait's residential neighbourhoods," coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Malki told the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Houthis' Al Masirah TV channel reported that the rebels had launched drones targeting the control towers at Khamis Mushait airbase and Abha airport, also in the south-west of the kingdom.

The Iran-backed rebels, who seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014, have increased drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months. While most of the attacks were intercepted, some have caused deaths and injuries, including two strikes on Abha airport in June and July.

The escalation undermines UN attempts to put into effect a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah, the main entry point for desperately needed food and aid for millions of Yemenis affected by the war. The truce brokered in Sweden last December is seen as a first step towards a political resolution to the conflict, in which the Saudi-led coalition is supporting the internationally recognised government.