A picture of the Houthi drone shot down by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack an airport in the country, state media reported.
The Saudi air force intercepted and destroyed the drone that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the Riyadh-led coalition fighting the rebels was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The rebels’ Al Masirah TV said earlier that the drone targeted military hangars at Jizan airport.
The airport is used by thousands of civilians every day, but the coalition reported no casualties and warned the rebels of a strong response.
Separately, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has assured Yemen’s leader that the world body will remain impartial in efforts to resolve the country’s conflict, rejecting accusations that its envoy was siding with rebels.
The pledge came in a letter from Guterres to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who had accused the UN special envoy to Yemen of bias.
“I would like to assure you that every effort will be made to maintain the impartial stance that is expected of the United Nations,” while implementing a ceasefire agreement, Guterres said in the letter seen by AFP on Sunday.
In his own letter addressed to Guterres, Hadi accused envoy Martin Griffiths of “providing the Houthi militia with guarantees to stay in Hodeidah and its ports under the umbrella of the UN.”
“I can no longer accept these offences by your special envoy which threaten chances to find a (lasting) solution,” Hadi said.
In the letter Hadi accuses Griffiths of undermining chances for peace.
Hadi also warned his government would stop dealing with the UN envoy.
It also accuses Griffiths of treating the “rebels as a de-facto government and as an equal to the legitimate and elected government” of Yemen.
Hodeidah is the main entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions of people.
Earlier this month, the United Nations supervised the rebels’ handover of the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa to a “coast guard,” but the government said they were in fact Houthi forces in different uniforms.
The pullback is in line with a ceasefire deal for Hodeidah reached in Stockholm in December.