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Yemeni army downs US-made ScanEagle spy drone in Ma’rib province

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)
The Yemeni army shot down a ScanEagle spy drone belonging to the Saudi-led forces in Ma’rib province on January 29, 2022. (Photo by al-Masirah news network)

The Yemeni army says it has shot down a ScanEagle spy drone belonging to the Saudi-led forces in Ma’rib province, in yet another successful operation targeting such costly American-made aircraft.

The spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said in a tweet on Sunday that the spy drone was downed using a “suitable weapon.”

“Our air defenses, thanks to God, were able to shoot down an American-made ScanEagle spy plane using a suitable weapon, while it was carrying out hostile actions yesterday evening, Saturday, in the airspace of the Juba district in Ma’rib province,” Saree said.

ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for espionage activities. Each ScanEagle system reportedly costs US$3.2 million.

In recent months, Yemeni forces have shot down at least 13 ScanEagle spy drones, many of which over areas controlled by the army and allied popular committee forces in Ma’rib.

Since last summer, the Yemeni army and its allied fighters have been involved in an operation to liberate Ma’rib from militants allied to the former Riyadh-allied regime.

The militants, despite receiving heavy aerial support from the Saudi-led military coalition, have suffered huge losses on the battlefield, with the army forces expected to liberate the city in the near future.

Ma’rib, where many oil and gas resources of Yemen are located, has currently the largest concentration of Saudi-backed militants. The province’s recapture will thus mark a turning point in the defense campaign against the Riyadh-led war coalition.

‘Solution begins with stopping aggression’

Meanwhile, the General People’s Congress, a Yemeni political party, has condemned the military escalation by the Saudi-led coalition countries against innocent civilians, as happened in Sa’ada and Hudaydah, as well as the destruction of infrastructure in the Arab country.

In a statement released on Saturday evening, the Congress renewed its rejection of any attempts by the United States or any other country to classify the Ansarullah resistance movement as a terrorist organization.

It said such efforts do not serve Yemen and will obstruct the peace process to end the war in Yemen.

“The General People’s Congress affirms that this escalation will not achieve any significant results, especially after seven years have proven the success of Yemeni steadfastness in the face of the plans of the countries of aggression,” the statement read.

It concluded by stressing that the solution begins with stopping the aggression, lifting the comprehensive siege of Yemen, ensuring reconstruction and the exit of foreign forces from Yemen, and preparing the atmosphere for a Yemeni-Yemeni dialog to solve problems, away from any external interference by any party or regional or international powers.

Riyadh and its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, launched the devastating war against its impoverished southern neighbor in 2015. The conflict, coupled with the crippling blockade, has triggered a severe humanitarian crisis in the country, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

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