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Saudi coalition says it shot down Houthi drone heading for kingdom

DUBAI — The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen on Thursday said it shot down an explosive-laden drone heading towards the kingdom, a statement published by Saudi state news agency SPA said.

There was no immediate comment on the incident in Houthi media.

The drone had been launched from Hodeidah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, the coalition said. It did not say where the drone was intercepted.

Cross-border attacks by Houthi forces have escalated since late May when a truce prompted by the coronavirus pandemic expired. In late June, missiles reached the Saudi capital Riyadh. The coalition has retaliated with air strikes.

Houthi-run Al Masirah TV reported a coalition air strike on Thursday morning on the Saada area which borders Saudi Arabia.

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people since the Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 shortly after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from power in the capital Sanaa.

The conflict is largely seen regionally as a proxy war between Saudi and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

The United Nations Yemen envoy has been holding virtual talks between the warring parties to try to agree a permanent ceasefire and confidence-building steps to restart peace negotiations last held in December 2018.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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