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US air systems unable to intercept Yemeni ballistic missiles, drones: Defense minister

This file picture, provided by the media bureau of Yemen's Operations Command Center, shows domestically-developed ballistic missiles and combat drone at an exhibition in Sana’a, Yemen.

Yemen's armed forces have the upper hand in battles against the Saudi-led military coalition and its allied Takfiri militants, says the country's defense minister.

“The Saudi-led coalition had banked on occupying Yemen and plundering its resources. It had, however, underestimated the abilities of the Yemeni people and its armed forces, who could turn the tables in their favor,” Major General Mohammad al-Atifi said on Friday. 

“The steadfastness and resilience of our nation and leadership on frontlines stems from the fact that we reserve the right to fight arrogance and tyranny, and confront invaders and occupiers,” Atifi told a group of Yemeni soldiers from the Sixth Military Region.

He also said the sophisticated US-built Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems that Saudi Arabia and its allies are striving to acquire are no more effective in the face of homegrown Yemeni ballistic missiles and drones.

“Our expertise in the field of military industry has reached advanced levels. Yemeni armed forces are fairly professional, and currently possess very precise and effective weapons,” Atifi stated.

“A great victory awaits all brave men who are firmly treading the path of resistance against aggressors,” the Yemeni defense minister pointed out.

Saudi-led coalition seizes another Yemen-bound fuel ship 

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition forces seized another Yemen-bound oil tanker carrying thousands of tons of fuel for the crisis-stricken country in flagrant breach of an ongoing UN-brokered ceasefire.

Essam al-Mutawakil, a spokesman for the Yemeni National Oil Company, told the official Saba news agency on Friday that the coalition did not allow the Oud tanker, which was carrying 30,929 tons of gasoline, to offload its cargo at Yemen’s western port of Hudaydah.

Mutawakil added that the ship was seized off the coast of Saudi Arabia’s Jizan port, despite having being inspected and cleared for the port by the United Nations staff, and necessary entry permits.

Furthermore, a Yemeni military official said the Saudi-led coalition forces and their allied militants have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire at least 103 times during the past 24 hours.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the violations included 44 flights of armed Saudi-led reconnaissance aircraft in the skies of the provinces of Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Hajjah, al-Jawf, Sa’ada, Dhale, al-Bayda as well as border areas.

He added that Saudi-led troops and their mercenaries also fortified their positions around the city of Ma’rib,

The Yemeni military official stated that 38 shooting incidents were also recorded in Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Hajjah, Sa'ada, Dhale and al-Bayda provinces in addition to border regions. The shots struck residential buildings as well as positions of Yemeni army forces and fighters from the Popular Committees.

The official further noted that residential buildings also came under artillery shelling in al-Akad, al-Balaq al-Sharqi, al-Tala'a, Dashdoush and Mala’a areas of Ma’rib province on at least 16 occasions.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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