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Iran has sent advanced “suicide drones” to its allies in Yemen, the Houthis (Ansar Allah), Newsweek reported on January 14.
According to the report, the drones, which were identified as “Shahed-136,” were deployed in the northern province of al-Jawf. The province is located right on the border with Saudi Arabia.
My latest EXCLUSIVE: Intelligence seen by @Newsweek appears to show that Iran positions “suicide drones” in Yemen amid a rise in Red Sea tensions.
— 𝕋om 𝕆’ℂonnor (@ShaolinTom) January 14, 2021
An unnamed military expert, who follows Iranian activities in the region, told Newsweek that the suicide drones have an operational range of 2,000 to 2,200 kilometers.
“They are forward deploying or prepositioning these drones in order to stage an attack against a variety of targets they have within range,” the expert told Newsweek. “What they’re trying to achieve is plausible deniability, as in being able to strike either a US, Saudi, Gulf, or Israeli target and then having the strike traced back to Yemen, and hoping for deniably against any kind of retribution.”
Similar suicide drones were used by the Houthis in Yemen before. Nevertheless, this specific model, “Shahed-136,” has not been spotted in Iran, yet.
In the last few months, the Houthis stepped up their drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen. The group said the strikes were a response to the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and its siege on Yemen.
According to the Houthis, the Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes on different parts of Yemen and violating the UN-sponsored ceasefire in al-Hudaydah on a daily basis.
- The Liaison and Coordination Officers’ Operations Room (loyal to Ansar Allah) reported 143 ceasefire violations in al-Hudaydah during the past 24 hours.
- On January 13, Saudi-led coalition warplanes conducted 4 airstrikes on the Zahir area.
- On January 13, Saudi-led coalition warplanes conducted airstrikes on Jabal Murad district.
- On January 13, Saudi-led forces captured the Oshal area in the Rahabh district.
- On January 13, the Saudi military committee in charge of monitoring the ceasefire in Abyan province left the city of al-Shuqra.
Newsweek’s report highlights Iran’s growing support for the Houthis. Iran’s support has been enabling the Houthis to take a stand against the Saudi-led coalition. At the same time, it allowed Tehran to mount serious pressure on US allies in the Arabian Peninsula.
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