June 29-July 5: More Houthi Drone Attacks; UAE Escalates Withdrawal of Forces

Saturday, June 29

A new UN report released this weekend found that over 7,500 children have been killed or wounded in Yemen since the start of the war. The majority of these casualties were attributed to airstrikes, shelling, fighting, suicide attacks, and mines. The Secretary-General’s report said that the killings and injuries specifically were among 11,779 grave violations against children since the beginning of the conflict. Virginia Gamba, the UN special representative for children in conflict, commented, “the children of Yemen had nothing to do with the start of this conflict. They should now be given the opportunity to exit from it and be assisted to fully recover.”

A Houthi-laid mine in al-Jawf province killed two men and a child today, reports al-Masdar Online.

Sunday, June 30

Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said. The first drone targeted the province of Jizan and the second a residential area in Asir province. No casualties were reported.

Al-Masdar Online reports that the UAE-backed Shabwah Elite Forces refused passage today to a committee charged by Shabwah’s governor with investigating last week’s bombing of an oil pipeline in the province. 

A protest was held today in Soqotra, at the urging of the internationally-recognized government. The demonstrators expressed pro-Hadi sentiments as well as support for Soqotra’s governor, Ramzi Mahrous, while simultaneously rejecting the formation of armed non-state militias and the involvement of external parties in the conflict in Yemen.

Monday, July 1

The United Arab Emirates is escalating its withdrawal of forces from the campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. As tensions with Iran have escalated, Abu Dhabi has pulled tanks and attack helicopters out of Yemen to prepare for the possibility of employing those forces closer to home. This week, it withdrew hundreds of soldiers from the Red Sea coast, including those close to the port city of al-Hudaydah.

Al-Masdar Online reports that a military officer was killed in Shabwah governorate under mysterious circumstances. Shabwah has recently been the scene of clashes between pro-government military units and secessionist forces.

Tuesday, July 2

An armed drone launched by the Houthis struck Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport early Tuesday and injured nine people, according to Saudi military officials. On Tuesday, the rebels’ al-Masirah TV said they had launched a “large operation” to target the airport in Abha, about 125 miles north of Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have targeted that airport and others several times since June 12, when an attack injured at least 26 people inside the Abha facility.

Eleven people were killed and eighteen others wounded today in tribal clashes between the Riyam and Abbas groups in al-Baydha province, reports al-Masdar Online. 

Meanwhile, al-Masdar reports that President Hadi has returned to Riyadh after a routine medical visit to the United States.

Wednesday, July 3

Houthi officials claimed that their forces shot down a Saudi drone in southern Saudi Arabia. 

Al-Masdar Online tweeted that Southern Transitional Council leader Hussein Khamees al-Khamar was found dead in Bihan Directorate, Shabwah Governorate, apparently from a gunshot.

Al-Mahrah Post tweeted that the Yemeni government has announced its continuation of a security campaign against “subversive elements” in southern Ma’rib. 

Al-Masdar Online reports a strike by oil workers at the Yemeni Oil Company in Aden. The article states that the strikers are protesting lack of enforcement of laws regulating oil companies and refineries in the area. 

Supporters of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden broke into the headquarters of the Yemeni government-run Saba News Agency in the city today, demanding the establishment of a separate southern Yemeni state and raising the flag of the former People’s Republic of South Yemen. 

In Ta’iz, clashes were reported between the Abu al-Abbas brigades and another local armed group in the city, resulting in the death of one citizen and the injury of three others.

Thursday, July 4

Houthi forces announced that their troops targeted a US-made missile system inside northern Yemen, al-Masdar reported. According to Houthi officials, their rocket battalion targeted the Saudi military’s Patriot missile installation in Ma’rib Governorate with armed drones on Thursday evening. Houthi sources also claimed to hit coalition forces with a Badr-P1 ballistic missile in the same area. 

Locals in Aden have reported renewed clashes between two armed groups in the Sheikh Othman district, home to Aden Airport, in which four combatants were wounded and several civilian homes damaged. 

Friday, July 5

According to local sources, masked gunmen robbed a vehicle belonging to a currency exchange company of 30 million Yemeni riyals, or about $120,000 USD, today in northern Aden.