BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – The Houthi forces announced on Saturday that they have shot down an unmanned drone over northern Yemen just a day after claiming to bring down a Saudi Apache helicopter, Yahya Sarea, the group’s military spokesman, said on Saturday.
“Yemeni air defenses were able to shoot down a Chinese-made Wing Loong fighter reconnaissance aircraft in the Hiran district of Hajjah province this evening during hostilities”, Sarea said in a post in Twitter.
Sarea added that the operation was caught on tape and that footage will be published shortly.
Earlier in the day, Yemeni news outlet Almasirah released footage it said showed the Saudi Apache military helicopter shot down on Friday. Sarea on Friday said that two crew members on board the helicopter died.
The purported spike in hostilities comes after a week which saw peace overtures from the Saudi-led coalition. A statement by the Saudi defence ministry on Tuesday announced the release of 200 Houthi captives from its prisons and the reopening of the airport in Yemen’s capital Sanaa for medical patients.
The International Committee of the Red Cross later confirmed the return of 128 Yemeni prisoners from the kingdom.
The armed conflict in Yemen between the government forces and Houthi rebels has been ongoing since 2015. The former is backed by a military coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia.
During UN-led consultations in Sweden in December 2018, the parties agreed to a ceasefire in the port city of Al Hudaydah, an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors in the area.