DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen’s Houthi leader said on Friday the group would continue to develop its military capabilities as the Iran-aligned movement stepped up its attacks against Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war.
Saudi air defense forces on Wednesday intercepted three missiles fired at Riyadh and other cities by the Houthis — the fourth time in five months that missiles have flown over the Saudi capital. They also downed two Houthi drones in cities in the south of the kingdom, Saudi state media said.
“As long as the aggression continues, our military capabilities will grow and develop,” Abdul Malik al-Houthi said in a speech aired by the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, adding that the group had a right to build drone planes and use them.
A Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to try to push back the Houthis after they drove the internationally recognized government into exile in Riyadh.
The United Nations says 10,000 people have died in the three-year war.
The privately-owned Belqees TV station said one of its Yemeni photographers, Abdullah al-Qadry, died from injuries sustained in what it said was a Houthi missile strike on Friday that hit a car carrying journalists in al-Bayda province. It said the correspondent of another Yemeni TV station was injured.
Medical sources confirmed that the photographer had died from his injuries and said another journalist was in serious condition. It was not clear how many people had been in the car.
The Houthis say their missile attacks on the kingdom are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition, which has launched thousands of air strikes in Yemen since 2015 that have killed hundreds of people.
The coalition accuses the Houthis of being armed and supported by regional foe Iran — charges the group and Tehran deny.
Arms monitor Conflict Armament Research says it has evidence that the drones used on Wednesday and other Houthi equipment were made in Iran and was not of indigenous design and construction.
Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai and Mohammed Ghobari in Aden; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Toby Chopra