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Saudi Arabia Says it Intercepted Armed Drone Launched by Yemen Rebels

Map of Saudi Arabia
Map of Saudi Arabia

The Saudi-led military coalition intercepted an armed drone launched by Yemeni rebels, state media reported Sunday.

The official Saudi Press Agency carried a statement from coalition spokesperson Turki al-Maliki saying they "intercepted and destroyed an armed drone."

"It was launched systematically and deliberately by the terrorist Huthi militia to target civilians and civilian objects in the south of the region," the statement said.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who control much of the Yemen’s north, did not immediately claim responsibility for the drone attack.

The incident came as the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, began a two-day visit to Iran to discuss Yemen's humanitarian crisis and after the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden announced last week that it would withdraw support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.

“The Special Envoy’s immediate priority is to support agreement between the parties to the conflict on a nationwide ceasefire, urgent humanitarian measures and the resumption of the political process,” a U.N. statement said.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department said it had notified Congress of its intention to drop the Houthi rebels from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

The administration of former President Donald Trump designated the Houthis as a terrorist group late last year.

Saudi Arabia engaged in the Yemen conflict in 2015 in support of the internationally recognized government.