News Alerts

04 Dec 2020 | 02:32 AM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces reportedly intercept and destroy suspected Al-Houthi-launched weaponized drone early Dec. 4.

Saudi Arabia News Alert

Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces in Saudi Arabia reportedly intercept and destroy suspected Al-Houthi-launched weaponized drone early Dec. 4.

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/4/2020, 2:32 AM until 12/4/2020, 11:59 PM (UTC). COUNTRY/REGION Jazan, Najran, Abha

Event

Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces (RSADF) reported that they intercepted and destroyed a suspected Al-Houthi-launched weaponized drone targeting Saudi Arabia early Dec. 4. Authorities have not disclosed the specific locations the drone was attacking; however, previous similar incidents have targeted locations throughout Asir, Jazan, and Najran provinces. It remains unclear whether the drone was intercepted and destroyed over Yemeni or Saudi airspace. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

Localized disruptions to transport and business operations are possible near impact sites; additional cross-border attacks are almost certain to occur in the coming days.

Context

The lack of objective sources covering the conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and Al-Houthi rebels makes it challenging to independently verify reports of longer-range weaponized drone and ballistic missile attacks or intercepts inside Saudi Arabia. Each side relies heavily on propaganda and misdirection in the media to shape the narrative to its policy objectives. As is often the case when reports of an alleged drone or ballistic missile attacks or intercepts emerge, neither Riyadh nor the Al-Houthi rebels provide much, if any, verifiable proof to support their respective claims.

The Al-Houthi rebels have demonstrated an intent to target major population centers in Saudi Arabia with weaponized drones and ballistic missiles. While their precise tactical capabilities are unclear, the rebel group claims to possess several short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) with ranges from 30 km (18 miles) to 1,000 km (620 miles). The group, with help from Iran, also claims to possess several indigenously produced drones with ranges from 15 km (9 miles) to 500 km (310 miles). Nevertheless, the Saudi military employs a wide array of air defense platforms and appears to have significantly mitigated the drone and ballistic missile threat in its southern border provinces; however, falling debris post-intercept remains a potentially lethal hazard.

Previous Al-Houthi cross-border attacks have resulted in civilian casualties; however, most are due to shorter-range mortar and rocket attacks that concentrate near areas within 10 km (6 miles) of the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Advice

If officials report incoming artillery fire or drone activity in the general vicinity, stay indoors away from windows and exterior walls, and, if possible, move to a ground floor or basement. Confirm that a thorough communication plan exists to ensure rapid accountability for all personnel operating in Saudi Arabia's border provinces.

 

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