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Yemeni forces shoot down Saudi reconnaissance drone in Jawf skies

This picture, released by the media bureau of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah movement on May 22, 2021, shows the wreckage of a Chinese-made Chengdu Wing Loong II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition, which Yemeni forces shot down a few days earlier as it was flying in the skies over Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Najran.

Yemeni army forces have shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition over Yemen's northern province of al-Jawf.

Spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree said air defense forces targeted the Chinese-made CH-4 combat drone with a surface-to-air missile which has not been unveiled yet.

The aircraft was on a reconnaissance mission over al-Maraziq area in the Khabb wa ash Sha'af district of the province early Sunday morning, he said. 

It would not be a “picnic” for anyone to enter the Yemeni airspace because the country's armed forces protect it, Saree said.

The CH-4 drone has a 3,500- to 5,000-kilometer range and a 30- to 40-hour endurance. It is capable of carrying six missiles and a payload of up to 250 to 345 kilogram.

The unmanned aerial vehicle can fire air-to-ground missiles from an altitude of 5,000 meters, enabling it to stay outside of effective range of most anti-aircraft systems.

The development came only a day after the media bureau of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah movement released video footage of the wreckage of a Chinese-made Chengdu Wing Loong II drone belonging to the Saudi military.

Yemeni air defense forces and their allies shot down the spy drone over Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Najran, which lies close to the border with Yemen with a surface-to-air missile on May 20.

'We can strike targets you can’t imagine ever'

A senior member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council on Saturday threatened to intensify attacks against Saudi Arabia and its allies in case they continue their aggression and siege against Yemen.

“Sanctions do not frighten [Yemeni] fighters. If your siege and aggression persist, we may target sites deep inside some member states of the coalition of aggression, which cannot ever expect,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.

He made the remarks in response to the US Treasury Department’s Thursday decision to impose sanctions on Ansarullah’s two military officials involved in a push to liberate Yemen’s strategic and energy-rich Ma’rib region.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and other regional allies, launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi 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.

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