SANAA, March 5 (Saba) – The Yemeni army possesses Scud missiles, shorter-range Tochka and anti-ship missiles, and unguided Grad and Katyusha rockets, it has even manufactured smaller home-made rockets with names like “Borkan”," Badr" ,“Qaher” and “Al Sammad".
Living under the constant threat of airstrikes as well as a crippling blockade by the Saudi coalition has forced Yemen’s Resistance to build its burgeoning domestic military capability, as hope wanes that the Saudi-led attacks, which have killed and injured thousands of civilians since the coalition began its war in March 2015.
Yemen’s army has also produced four domestically-manufactured drones — the Qasef-1 (Striker-1), the Hudhud-1 (Hoopoe-1), the Raqib (Observer), and the Rased (Surveyor) — all of which perform a variety of tasks, including aerial surveillance, battlefield observation, and geophysical surveying.
Despite the strict blockade imposed by Riyadh and supported by Washington, Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies blame Iran for providing Ansar Allah (Houthis) with their ballistic missile arsenal, the Houthis reject claims that Iran smuggles missiles into Yemen, countering that Yemen`s military develops and manufactures the missiles based on Russian and North Korean technology.
Yet the Houthis have managed to launch dozens of them at Saudi Arabia throughout the war, including just outside the holy city of Mecca some 600km (370 miles) north of the country.
Seized by the Houthis from , Yemen’s missiles were amassed over the course of decades in legal acquisitions from the Soviet Union and North Korea, It was developed by Yemeni hands.
The Houthis have upgraded some missiles to maximize their range, and their technical savvy in local manufacture of smaller rockets and several deadly launches may suggest, military analysts say.
A Tochka Yemeni ballistic missile attack last September killed more than 60 Emirati, Saudi and Bahraini troops outside the central city of Marib and another killed the Saudi intelligence chief for Yemen and a senior Emirati officer in the southwest.
Yemeni army forces, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have hit a military camps in Saudi Arabia’s regions with a number of domestically-manufactured high-precision ballistic missiles in retaliation for the kingdom’s campaign of military aggression against the impoverished nation.
Saudi Arabia’s has accused Iran of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen, raising the stakes in an already tense standoff between the two regional rivals. Mohammed bin Salman linked Tehran to the launch of a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the international airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and other places.
Iran has called Riyadh’s accusations as baseless and provocative.
The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, said it lacked evidence of a Hezbollah link to those attacks but believed the Houthis receive their help.
“We have information that there are Lebanese working with the (Houthi) belonging to Hezbollah … We know they are there, we know they help them renew and maintain the missiles,” Asseri told Reuters.
Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman, a spokesman for Yemen’s pro-Houthi military, denied in a statement this month that their forces had ever received Iranian aid.
Iran and Hezbollah have also strongly denied aiding them.
Houthi missiles have also rattled shipping passing through the Bab al-Mandeb strait, Arabic for “Gate of Tears”, on the Red Sea, the group fired a conventional ship missile at an Emirati military craft on Oct. 1 and a ballistic missile a week later at pro-government forces on tiny Mayun Island sitting astride the 25.6-km-wide (16-mile) waterway’s narrowest point.
“It’s an extremely worrying sign, and the technology used from small speed boats to the missiles shows imitation, at the very least, of naval patterns Yemen has used in the Gulf,” said one diplomat, who declined to be identified.
A statement approved by all 15 council members “also expressed alarm at the stated intention of the Houthis to continue these attacks against Saudi Arabia, as well as to launch additional attacks against other states in the region.”
The Security Council also called for implementation of an arms embargo on the Houthis and called on the parties in Yemen to start negotiating a political settlement.
It was more than once in as many months that Yemeni army projectile had reached as far inside the kingdom as Riyadh.
The statement from the US-backed coalition, carried by Saudi state TV, said the missile was fired by the Houthis.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam tweeted that a ballistic “Borkan H-2” missile was used in the attack, the Hothis’ military media said the missile targeted “an expanded meeting of the Saudi top leadership at Yamama palace in Riyadh.”
In a televised address, leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said the range of missiles in the Houthi arsenal was being extended. “Our long hand will reach other places, God willing,” he said.
“As long as you continue to target Sanaa we will strike Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” he said.
Earlier , the Houthis confirmed they fired a missile at an under-construction nuclear plant in the Emirates, the UAE denied the claim.
On November 4, the Houthis targeted Saudi Arabia’s international airport in Riyadh, and Saudi Air Defense said it was intercepted. However, a New York Times analysis of photos and videos from the attack suggested air defenses may have missed the projectile and that the warhead struck near its intended target.
Saudi Arabia has the US-made Patriot surface-to-air anti-missile system, which President Donald Trump credited for bringing the November 4 missile down.
In the almost three years that the Saudi-led coalition has waged war with Yemenis, dozens of other missiles have been fired by the Houthis across the border into Saudi Arabia, reaching as far as some border towns, there have been casualties among local residents in those attacks.
Mahdi al Mashad, President of the Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana’a, said during a visit to the military manufacturing department of the Yemeni defense minister, that more smart missile systems would soon be revealed, promising that they would “change the map” of the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen.
For its part, the Yemeni Rocketry Force said that the Saudi-led coalition had pushed its units to acquire smart missile technology and manufacture and develop other ballistic missiles, adding: The continued support of the West to the coalition, especially the Americans, and their disregard for the suffering of the Yemenis will drive us to manufacture and possess more sophisticated weapons to protect our people.”
Written by Mona Zaid
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