Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Yemeni Houthi drone launched at kingdom

UAE Says Reducing Troops In War-Torn Yemen, Moving To

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday officially announced a partial military withdrawal from Yemen, after news had circulated in the global media for days.

Yemen's Houthi rebels carried out a drone attack on Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia, the group's Al-Masirah TV said Monday.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

"We do have troop levels that are down for reasons that are strategic in [the Red Sea city of] Hudaida and reasons that are tactical" in other parts of the country, a senior UAE official told media.

"The UAE announcement appears to be disingenuous and doesn't reflect a honest desire to end the war in Yemen, partly because it was leaked in an anonymous fashion without an official announcement", Thabit said.

"Our commitment in Yemen remains. This is part of the process within the coalition that's been discussed extensively with our partners, the Saudis".

The Houthis said in May they would begin to redeploy from three key ports in Yemen, including in Hodeida, which handles 70 percent of Yemen's food imports and humanitarian aid.

Yemen's latest conflict broke out in late 2014 when the Houthis, allied with forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

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Saudi Arabia and UAE intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015.

In discussing the drawdown of troops in Yemen, the Emirati official also noted the "overall geostrategic picture" in reference to escalating tensions between the USA and Iran in the Persian Gulf region.

Concerns spiked in the UAE after four oil tankers were hit off its coast of Fujairah in May in an attack that the US has blamed on Iran.

It also comes a week after a US Democratic senator warned Washington could cut off arms sales to the Emirates over a report the US ally shipped US missiles to Libyan rebels.

The UAE official said: "Many people asked if this is also linked to the current rise of tensions with Iran".

In May previous year, two men were sentenced by the same court for "providing information to a foreign state and co-operating with aggressor state Saudi Arabia between 2015 and 2016". Iran denies any involvement.

Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen announced on Monday that it thwarted a "terrorist" attack by Houthi militias against a commercial ship in the Red Sea, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

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