World Saudi-led coalition intercepts several Houthi drones
US to release report fingering Saudi prince in Khashoggi murder
The US director of national intelligence is expected to release a damning report Friday that fingers Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the brutal murder and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. The classified report is believed to say that, based on intelligence collected by the CIA and other spy bodies, the kingdom's de facto leader directed the assassination of the respected US-based writer in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said on Sunday it had destroyed eight armed drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, including three fired towards Saudi Arabia, state television channels reported.
The coalition did not specify locations in the kingdom. On Saturday, the coalition said it intercepted seven drones over 24 hours launched towards Khamis Mushait and one towards Jazan, both in southern Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi murder report puts US-Saudi ties on thinner ice
The explosive US finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi promises fresh turbulence between the allies but it is doubtful that Washington will shun the kingdom's de facto ruler. The decision to declassify the report on Khashoggi's grisly killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 marks a major departure by US President Joe Biden from his predecessor Donald Trump, who boasted of close ties with the kingdom.
The Houthis, which have been battling the military coalition since it intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, mostly in the south of the kingdom.
The United States and the United Nations have stepped up diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, which is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Riyadh and its allies say they are fighting to restore the rule of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, headed by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and removed from power following the Houthis’ takeover of the capital in late 2014.
The Houthis, who now control most of the north, deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
Fighting has also intensified on the ground in Yemen in Marib and Taiz regions. The war, in a military deadlock for years, has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) said on Friday that Al-Thawra hospital in Taiz had treated 28 people wounded in intense clashes since Wednesday and that the hospital itself was hit by gunfire, injuring three, including a 12-year-old boy.
In Marib, the government’s last northern stronghold, hundreds of fighters from both sides have been killed.
US to Yemen’s Houthis: Stop attacking, start negotiating .
Washington calls Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘unacceptable’ and urges the Yemeni group to engage in talks.The leaders of the Houthi movement “need to quite simply stop attacking and start negotiating”, Department of State spokesman Ned Price said on Monday.