Saudi-led coalition says downs Huthi drone over kingdom

Riyadh (AFP) –


The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen announced Wednesday it shot down a "hostile" drone launched by Huthi rebels over the city of Abha in the kingdom's southwest.

Saudi air defences "tracked an unidentified object (over) the city of Abha and dealt with it in accordance with the rules of engagement," coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Coalition specialists who analysed the debris ruled it was a "hostile Huthi drone with Iranian specifications and characteristics", he added.

The coalition announced on January 20 it had "destroyed" seven rebel targets, including drone facilities, near Yemen's insurgent-held capital Sanaa.

Riyadh and its allies accuse Iran of supplying the rebels with weapons -- a charge Tehran denies.

A rebel drone attack earlier this month targeting a military parade at Yemen's largest air base killed a high-ranking Yemeni intelligence official.

The war between the Huthis and pro-government troops escalated in March 2015, when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into exile in Riyadh and a Saudi-led military coalition intervened.

Since then, the conflict has killed some 10,000 people and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.