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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Arab coalition warns of 'painful' response over Yemen's Houthi drones

Col Turki Al Malki displayed at a news conference remnants of the intercepted aircraft

Col Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition forces, addresses a news conference in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, on April 16, 2018. Ahmed Yosri / EPA
Col Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition forces, addresses a news conference in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, on April 16, 2018. Ahmed Yosri / EPA

An Arab coalition battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen warned of a “painful” response if the militants launched new attacks on Saudi Arabia using Iran-supplied drones.

“If the Houthis continue targeting industrial or residential facilities, the response will be hard and painful,” said the Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman, Col Turki Al Malki.

He displayed during a conference on Monday in the kingdom’s eastern city of Al Khobar remnants of the intercepted aircraft.

Last week, Riyadh shot down two drones in the south of Saudi Arabia and intercepted ballistic missiles fired from the rebel-held parts of Yemen.

On Monday, the Iran-back Houthi militia fire a new missile towards the southern Najran province, which was intercepted by Saudi air defence, the latest in a series of similar incidents.

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Col Al Malki added that the airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which is still under rebel control, was being used as a military base to orchestrate the drone strike.

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government said last week the drones used to attack Saudi Arabia were “made in Iran”. It added that its military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally”.

The Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia since last year, all of which were intercepted.

A major attack targeted Riyadh international airport on November 4, and another strike on December 19 targeted Riyadh's Yamamah palace, the official residence of the king.

After entering the war at the request of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi on March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition — which includes the UAE — has helped pro-government forces to retake much of the territory captured by the rebels. However, Sanaa remains under rebel control.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict, in what the United Nations has called the world’s humanitarian crisis.