DUBAI (Reuters) – The Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen said Sunday it destroyed eight armed drones fired by the Iranian-focused Houthi movement, including three fired towards Saudi Arabia, state television networks reported.
The coalition did not specify any locations in the kingdom. On Saturday, the coalition said it intercepted seven drones fired at Khamis Mushait and one at Jazan, both in southern Saudi Arabia, within 24 hours.
The Houthis, who have been fighting the coalition since engaging in the civil war in Yemen in March 2015, recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Local fighting in Yemen in the Marib and Taiz regions has also increased.
Televisions quoted the coalition as saying the escalation of the Houthi attacks was the result of the coalition's "victories" in Marib and the "hostile interpretation" of a decision by the new US administration in February to revoke the group's terrorist designations.
The United States and the United Nations have stepped up diplomatic efforts to end what is largely viewed in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Last week the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Houthi military leaders in the first sentence of the group taken by President Joe Biden's administration.
The Houthis, who ousted the internationally recognized government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014, deny being Tehran's puppets and say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
The war, which has been at a military stalemate for years, has killed tens of thousands of people and brought Yemen to the brink of famine.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said Friday that Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz had treated 28 people who had been injured in violent clashes since Wednesday, and that the hospital itself had been hit by firearms, three of whom were injured including a 12-year-old boy.
Hundreds of fighters from both sides were killed in Marib, the last government stronghold in the north.
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