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Report: Iran-backed group’s drone shot down over Saudi Arabia

Persian: An example of Iran's radar monitoring drone (Amirhosseinrostamy75ir/Wikimedia Commons)
May 27, 2020

Arab Coalition forces reported Wednesday they shot down a drone being operated over the Saudi Arabian city of Najran by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported the incident in a Wednesday press release. The Arab Coalition forces believe the drone was being used by the Yemen-based group to target civilians in the city, located near the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

“The Houthi militia continues to violate the customary International Humanitarian Law by launching and deliberately targeting civilians and densely populated civilian areas with UAVs, threatening the lives of hundreds of civilians in the process,” coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said.

Al-Malki further declared the drone activity a violation of a ceasefire and de-escalation agreement adopted on April 9 of this year.

“These acts of hostility and terror are a blatant violation of the International Humanitarian Law and a confirmation of rejection of the ceasefire and de-escalation initiative announced by the Coalition on April 9th, 2020,” he said.

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Al-Malki said the Houthi rebels had not responded since the incident and further claimed the group has violated the agreement more than 4,455 times using various small arms and light weapons, heavy weapons and ballistic missiles. The SPA previously reported Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted and shot down a pair of ballistic missiles targeting the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jazan on March 28, though two civilians in Riyadh were injured by falling debris.

Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for a previous coordinated drone and missile attack on a pair of Saudi Arabian oil production facilities in September, though U.S. and Saudi officials assessed the strikes did not come from their direction and believe the attack may have been coordinated directly by Iran.

The Saudi conflict in Yemen has been going on since 2015 with the pro-Iranian Houthi rebels fighting pro-Saudi forces.