The Latest: Yemen’s rebels confirm they used drone in attack
CAIRO (AP) — The Latest on developments in Yemen (all times local):
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they used a new version of their Qasef drone to launch an attack on a government air base that killed at least six people.
Rebel media on Thursday quoted its military forces as saying the drone that was launched at the base in the country’s south was a Qasef-2K.
The reports said the drone has been designed to explode from a height of 20 meters — about 65 feet — in the air and rain shrapnel down on its target.
That description matches video taken from the scene, which appears to show the drone fly directly overhead of the military parade at Al-Anad Air Base and then explode.
Jeremy Binnie, a weapons expert who works as the Middle East and Africa editor at Jane’s Defence Weekly, said he believes it’s the first time the Houthis used this version of the drone in the field.
Thursday’s brazen attack threatens U.N.-brokered peace efforts to end the yearslong war tearing at the Arab world’s poorest nation.
Yemen’s information minister says a rebel drone attack earlier this morning at a military parade in the south wounded two senior commanders, showing that the Houthis are “not ready for peace.”
Moammar al-Eryani slammed the strike near Aden and urged “the international community to stand by the legitimate government and force the militias to give up their weapons and pull out of the cities.”
He said that the government has confiscated shipments of weapons coming from Iran, and this drone is “another testament that Iranians continue to arm Houthis and destabilize Yemen.”
His comments came after a rebel drone airstrike on Thursday hit a military parade at Al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj. There were no confirmed numbers of dead and wounded. Saudi satellite broadcaster Al-Hadath put the death toll at five.
Yemeni officials say a rebel airstrike has hit a military parade outside the southern port city of Aden, killing several troops from the Saudi-led coalition.
The pro-rebel news website al-Masirah said Thursday’s strike was carried out by a drone that targeted “invaders and mercenaries” at Al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj, leaving “dozens of dead and wounded.”
Military officials say the dead and wounded include “officers and senior leaders,” which in southern Yemen contain a strong contingent from the United Arab Emirates. Saudi satellite broadcaster Al-Hadath put the death toll at five.
The officials spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters.
The strike is a blow to Yemen peace efforts after a cease-fire was signed for the key port city of Hodeida last month.