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Saudi Arabia says US cutting of missile batteries not to affects its capabilities

A file photo shows a ThAAD launcher being installed in South Korea. (Via AP)

Saudi Arabia which has been waging a deadly war on Yemen says the US decision to cut the number of Patriot batteries deployed to the kingdom won’t affect its capabilities amid intensified Yemeni retaliatory attacks.                           

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Friday said the Pentagon is cutting the number of troops and air defense units deployed to the Middle East, including withdrawing Patriot batteries and an anti-missile system, called THAAD, from Saudi Arabia.

"This will not affect the Saudi air defenses," Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the war coalition against Yemen, told reporters on Sunday.

"We have a strong understanding with... our allies about the threat in the region. We do have the capability to defend our country."

Saudi Arabia relies heavily on US-made Patriots to intercept missiles and drones fired at the kingdom on a near daily basis by Yemeni forces in retaliation for the Saudi airstrikes that have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians.

The coalition claimed on Sunday that Saudi defenses had intercepted a drone launched by Yemeni forces toward the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait, without elaborating.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, said in a tweet on Saturday that the Yemeni forces launched an attack using Qasef-2K drone on King Khalid airbase in Khamis Mushait, stressing that the attack hit its target accurately.

He noted that the attack came in response to the ongoing Saudi aggression and siege on Yemen.

Yemen Petroleum Company said on Monday that Saudi Arabia is preventing a new ship, loaded with a total of 23,066 tons of mazut, from reaching Hudaydah seaport despite having undergone inspection and having relevant permits from the United Nations.

Esam al-Motawakel, a spokesman for YPC, said in a tweet that the latest ship bring to three the number of fuel vessels seized by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and some of its regional allies, backed by the US and other Western powers, have been waging a devastating war on Yemen beginning in March 2015 to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the popular Ansarullah movement.

The Saudi war, which Riyadh had claimed would last only a few weeks but is still ongoing, has failed to achieve its goals, but pushed Yemen to the brink, killed tens of thousands of innocent people, and destroyed the impoverished state’s infrastructure.

The United Nations has described the war on Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Al-Masirah television network cited a military source late Sunday as saying that Saudi Arabia had violated a ceasefire agreement, reached between the warring Yemeni sides during a round of UN-sponsored negotiations in Sweden in December 2018, 105 times in the past 24 hours. The violations included artillery attacks.

On Sunday, the air defenses of Yemeni army and popular committees shot down a US spy drone in Ma’arib Province.

Sareee said a surface-to-air missile hit the drone in Sirwah district.

Since February, the Yemeni forces have been pushing to liberate Ma’rib, the last northern stronghold of Saudi-backed militants and the capital of an oil-rich region.  

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