SANA’A (Dispatches) – The
Saudi-led military coalition has flown an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Yemeni capital, triggering army forces and fighters from allied Popular Committees to intercept and shoot down the aircraft.
The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said in a post published on his Twitter page that Yemeni air defense forces targeted the armed CH-4 reconnaissance drone with a surface-to-air missile as it was carrying out hostilities over Sana’a in the late hours of Monday.
The Saudi attempt came despite a UN-sponsored nationwide truce that took effect at the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan,
The CH-4 drone has a 3,500- to 5,000-kilometer range and a 30- to 40-hour endurance. It is also capable of carrying six missiles and a payload of up to 250 to 345 kilograms.
The unmanned aerial vehicle can fire air-to-ground missile from an altitude of 5,000 meters, enabling it to stay outside the effective range of most anti-aircraft systems.
Al-Masirah television network, citing a spokesman for Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, reported that three people lost their lives and as many sustained injuries at the site where the Saudi-led aircraft had gone down.
The development came only two days after Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters shot down a Turkish-built spy drone belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition over the country’s northwestern province of Hajjah.
Yemeni defense forces managed to “shoot down a Turkish-made Karayel reconnaissance drone” owned and operated by the Saudi-led coalition “while it was carrying out hostile missions in the airspace of the Hayran district,” Saree said on his Twitter account at the time.
He noted that the spy drone had been downed with a “homegrown surface-to-air missile,” which has not been unveiled yet, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported then.
Muhammed Abdul-Salam, spokesman for Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement, said, “The flight of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles in the airspace of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, is an act of aggression, and validates the aggressors’ disrespect for the UN-sponsored truce.”
He said the United Nations and world agencies would have adopted a different stance in case Yemeni army forces and fighters from Popular Committees had flown their drones in the skies of the Saudi-led coalition member states.
“We hold aggressors responsible for the consequences of such provocative and aggressive actions,” Abdul-Salam pointed out.
Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the U.S. and other Western states.
The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.
While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.