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Yemeni forces intercept, shoot down Saudi spy 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 photo 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 as it was flying over an area in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Najran.

Spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree said Yemeni air defense forces and their allies shot down the spy drone as it was on a reconnaissance mission over the region, situated 844 kilometers (524 miles) south of the capital Riyadh, with a surface-to-air missile on Thursday.

He stressed that the specifications of the aircraft and details of the operation will be published later.

Moreover, forces of the Saudi-led military coalition and their mercenaries have violated 123 times during the past 24 hours a ceasefire agreement between warring sides for the western coastal province of Hudaydah.

An unnamed source in Yemen’s Liaison and Coordination Officers Operations Room said the violations included 16 reconnaissance flights over Kilo 16, al-Fazeh, Jabaliya and Durayhimi districts, 14 counts of artillery shelling and 86 shooting incidents.

Delegates from the Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi attended the peace negotiations in Rimbo on the outskirts of Stockholm in December 2018. The talks resulted in the announcement of a breakthrough agreement.

The document included three provisions: a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port; an agreement on prisoner exchange; and a statement of understanding on the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and other regional allies, launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing Ansarullah. 

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi-led military aggression has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions of people. The Saudi war has also destroyed Yemen's infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the country.

US senators demand Saudi Arabia end blockade 

Meanwhile, a group of Democratic senators have called on US President Joe Biden to take “immediate and decisive action” to pressure Saudi Arabia into the removal of the crippling blockade against Yemen.

The senators expressed concerns that restrictions on the import of food, medicine and other crucial supplies are exacerbating one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, and said it was time Saudi Arabia faced serious consequences for its practices in the war-torn country.

“Immediate and decisive action must be taken… The United States has diplomatic and economic leverage to compel Saudi Arabia to end its callous blockade of Yemen and we must use it before more lives are needlessly lost,” the senators said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The letter was the third of its kind to be sent to the Biden administration in recent weeks aimed at getting the White House to act on Yemen blockade.

Last month, a bipartisan group of House Foreign Affairs Committee members sent a similar letter to Blinken, calling on Washington to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop the “outright blocking” of goods and humanitarian assistance into ports in Yemen, which they said had led to increased inflation, “economic collapse, and the failure of public services in Yemen.”

“We understand that the conflict in Yemen is complex and affects broader political and security interests, but we nonetheless ask that you stress the need to remove import restrictions immediately on humanitarian grounds,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.


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