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

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 Yemen’s Operations Command Center)

Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have intercepted and targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition in the skies over the kingdom’s southern border region of Najran, in retaliation for the alliance’s military aggression against their conflict-stricken country.

The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, wrote in a post published on his Twitter page that Yemeni forces and their allies shot down the drone over al-Sawh area of the region, situated 844 kilometers (524 miles) south of the capital Riyadh, on Thursday evening.

He added that Yemeni army forces and Popular Committees fighters targeted the unmanned aerial vehicle with a proper missile as it was conducting “hostile acts” in border areas.

Houthis, Saudi-backed militiamen swap prisoners

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has announced the completion of separate prisoner swap deals with Saudi-sponsored Yemeni militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the country’s southwestern province of Ta'izz, central province of Ma'rib as well as the western coastal province of Hudaydah.

The head of the Houthi-affiliated National Committee for Prisoners' Affairs (NCPA), Abdulqader al-Mortada, said nine members of the Yemeni Army and allied Popular Committees had been released, and that the agreement was through “local mediation.”

Mortada, however, did not provide details about the number of released prisoners in return. 

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 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 war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.

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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