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Yemeni forces, allies shoot down Saudi-led surveillance drone in Hajjah

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated file picture shows the wreckage of an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition after it was intercepted and targeted by Yemeni army forces and allied fighters from Popular Committees. (Photo by the media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center)

Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from the Popular Committees, have intercepted and targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition as it was flying in the skies over the country’s northwestern province of Hajjah.

An unnamed source in the Yemeni air defense forces told the Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Yemeni forces and their allies shot down the drone while on a reconnaissance mission west of Jabal Mab'ousah in al-Mazraq area of the Harad district on Friday afternoon.

The media bureau of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, citing the spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree, announced in a statement on Wednesday that Yemeni air defense forces and their allies shot down a US-built General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) drone with a precision missile.

The statement added that the aircraft was struck as it was on a surveillance mission, noting that the domestically-developed missile which brought down the drone will be showcased during a press briefing in the near future.

An image grab taken from a video made available on August 21, 2019 by the media bureau of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement shows the wreckage of a US-built General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) drone after it was shot down over Yemen's southwestern Dhamar province. 

Also on Friday, Saudi fighter jets bombarded an area in the Haydan district of the northern Yemeni province of Sa’ada. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.

Earlier in the day, Saudi warplanes had launched four airstrikes against a residential area in the Harf Sufyan district of Yemen's northwestern province of ‘Amran. No reports of fatalities were immediately available though.

A Yemeni boy prays over the tomb of a relative on the first day of the Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) festivities in Yemen's capital Sana’a on August 11, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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