Saudi-led coalition says it downs two Houthi drones

Jun 1, 2020

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen shot down two drones June 1 launched by the Houthi rebel group toward residential areas in Saudi Arabia, a spokesperson for the coalition said. 

The two drones were headed toward the southwestern Saudi border town of Khamis Mushait, said coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki, as quoted by Saudi state news agency SPA. 

“The Houthi militia continues to violate the customary international humanitarian law by launching and deliberately targeting civilians and densely populated civilian areas with UAVs (drones), threatening the lives of hundreds of civilians in the process,” Malki said. 

The coalition declared a now-expired unilateral cease-fire in early April, and Maliki said the number of Houthi violations since then has exceeded 5,000. The Houthis did not immediately confirm the alleged June 1 drone attacks. 

Yemen has been ravaged by war since 2014, when the Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels seized control of Sanaa and went on to capture large swaths of the country from pro-government forces, on whose behalf the Saudis and a group of allies intervened militarily in March 2015.

In mid-May, the United Nations’ Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said the two sides had made “significant progress” toward agreeing to a permanent truce.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and left nearly 80% of the population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. As the war rages, UN agencies say they are running out of money to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance.

The UN estimates it needs roughly $2 billion to cover essential services in Yemen from June through December. It hopes to secure some of that funding during a virtual pledging conference June 2. 

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