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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Yemen says Iran is arming Houthis with drones to attack Saudi Arabia

Riyadh shot down two drones and intercepted five missiles between Wednesday and Friday

Saudi soldiers examine the remains of missiles in Riyadh. Fayez Nureldine / AFP
Saudi soldiers examine the remains of missiles in Riyadh. Fayez Nureldine / AFP

The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen.

The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally”.

Iran has long denied supplying arms to the Houthis, although a growing body of evidence contradicts that claim.

Between Wednesday and Friday, Riyadh said its air defences have intercepted five missiles and two drones launched from rebel-held northern Yemen.

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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.