RIYADH: The Arab coalition on Monday said it had shot down 11 drones launched by the Iranian-backed Houthis targeting Seiyun and that Saada and Amran governorates were still being used by the militia as storage areas for ballistic missiles.
Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki told a news conference in Riyadh that the coalition was committed to preventing the delivery of sophisticated weapons to the Houthis and it was taking all necessary measures to protect civilians and vital locations against the threat of drone attacks.
The coalition also welcomed the convening of Yemen’s Parliament, its first session since the 2014 Houthi coup. It was held in the city of Seiyun in the eastern province of Hadhramaut on Saturday and attended by 141 members, as well as international envoys and security personnel.
Sultan Al-Burkani, head of the General People’s Congress party, was elected speaker for the Yemeni House of Representatives, which convened for the first time since the war began.
“We welcome the convening of the Yemeni Parliament in Seiyun, which represents the isolation of the Houthi militia,” Al-Maliki said.
He said that 118 children, conscripted by Houthis, had been released through the coalition’s efforts and returned to their families so they could resume a normal life.
Houthi militias were obstructing the movement of merchant ships and threatening the navigation of ships in the Red Sea in Yemen, he added, as well as hiding drones near populated neighborhoods in Sanaa.
The war in Yemen between the Houthis and troops loyal to the internationally recognized government began in 2014 when militias seized the capital. In December 2018, the Houthi militia and Yemen’s government agreed to a deal in Sweden, known as the Stockholm agreement.
It comprised four key elements: A prisoner swap, the creation of a demilitarized zone around the country’s vital Red Sea trade corridor through withdrawals by rival Yemeni forces, the formation of a committee to discuss the future of the contested city of Taiz, and a commitment for the Houthis and the government to reconvene at the end of that month. The coalition spokesman said the Houthis had repeatedly breached the Stockholm agreement, committing 3,364 violations.
While the coalition had neutralized the threat of ballistic missiles, there remained the maritime threat.
“We are working to neutralize the speedboats that threaten Bab Al-Mandeb,” he said, referring to an important waterway for oil and products’ tankers to pass through on their way to and from Europe.
Al-Maliki stressed that all Yemeni ports were operating at full capacity because of the coalition’s efforts.
“We are facilitating the entry of vital goods through Yemeni ports quickly and without any exception,” he added.
He said clearance had been granted to 24 vessels carrying food and medical supplies.