Yemen’s military, loyal to the Houthis, launched a retaliatory drone attack against a Saudi-led coalition military parade at Saudi Arabia’s Al-Anad airbase in Yemen’s southern province of Lahejj, killing several military personnel.
Saudi state-owned media confirmed that multiple high-ranking officials were killed and several others injured when a combat drone struck an airbase where a military parade was taking place.
A source in Aden told MintPress News that 20 people were killed and more than 25 injured, including Saudi coalition military leaders and a high-ranking member of Saudi Arabia’s presidential forces — adding that those figures may increase, as new casualties were still arriving in Aden amid an intense security presence.
A Yemeni military source told MintPress that Yemen’s air force carried out the attack using a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) dubbed the Qasaf 2k (Canteen 2k). The Qasaf 2k is laden with a large amount of fragmented explosives and has a unique design which allows it to discharge its payload downwards at a distance of around of feet.
The first pictures from Al-Anad and injured Fadl Hassan. pic.twitter.com/NmexJEcgIn
— Yemen Observer (@YemeniObserv) January 10, 2019
A spokesman for the Yemeni army said the operation came in response to the continuation of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and the targeting of innocent civilians. A recent Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed two civilians and injured three others when their home was targeted in the village of al-Fara in northwestern Yemen’s Hardh district on Thursday. Coalition attacks and airstrikes are ongoing despite a truce that was reached in Sweden in December 2018.
Senior coalition military figures among the casualties
Saudi coalition military officials say the dead and wounded include officers and senior military leaders, cohorts that in southern Yemen contain a strong contingent from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE oversees the Al-Anad base, the coalition’s largest in Yemen.
لحظة تنفيذ #سلاح_الجو_المسير هجوماً على تجمعات للغزاة والمنافقين في قاعدة العند بـ #لحج #انفروا_خفافا_وثقالا #عملية_قاصف2k_بقاعدة_العند#اليمن #Yemen
رابط اليوتيوب:https://t.co/rMZe2nECUd pic.twitter.com/1Ybb2tRNxF
— المركز الإعلامي لأنصار الله (@AnsarAllahMC) January 10, 2019
According to Saudi and UAE state-owned media, among the wounded were Mohammad Saleh Tamah, the head of intelligence services for rebel forces loyal to the former government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi; senior military commander Mohammad Jawas; and Ahmed al-Turki, appointed by the coalition as governor of the Lahejj province. The report noted that coalition authorities were still searching for wounded among the rubble.
The attack comes after Yemen’s army, supported by the Houthis, announced the resumption of drone and ballistic missile attacks against Saudi-led coalition forces in November. The attacks had been suspended as a goodwill measure to “speed up” the peace process.
Al-Anad Air Base, which lies some 60 km north of Aden, once served as the headquarters for U.S. troops overseeing a long-running drone war in Yemen. Now occupied by Saudi-led coalition forces, it hosts U.S. Patriot air defense systems along with modern warplanes, including F16s and Apaches belonging to the UAE. Despite the presence of the modern U.S. Patriot air defense systems, the coalition was unable to intercept the drones, which cost Yemen’s military around $1,000 to produce.
Yemen’s air force has used drones to carry out attacks on Saudi and UAE positions in the past, including in a recent strike on the coalition’s Suwaiqa base in Al-Labinat in the al Jawf province of central Yemen on December 26, 2018.
According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis. The war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than a century.
Watch | This footage shows the moment of the attack on the Saudi military parade
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