DUBAI (Reuters) - The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said its forces intercepted and downed drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards the Saudi border city of Najran on Wednesday in the first such incident since late March.
There was no immediate comment from the Houthi group about the attack, which comes after the expiry of a one-month ceasefire announced by the coalition on April 24, an extension of a two-week truce prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried on the Saudi state news agency that the drones had been directed at civilian targets. He said the alliance would continue to take deterrent measures to “neutralise and destroy” Houthi capabilities.
In late March, after the group fired drones and missiles towards the Saudi capital Riyadh and southern parts of the kingdom, which were intercepted, the coalition responded with several air strikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.
There had been a relative lull in violence since the ceasefire was first declared, with the exception of fighting in Yemen’s al-Jawf and Marib provinces.
The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government to power in Sanaa after it was ousted from the capital by the Houthis in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years and U.N.-led peace efforts have stalled since late 2018.
Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean