Yemen Update: April 4-June 4

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Between April 4 and June 4, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) reported at least two Houthi ballistic missile launches targeting its territory, and one launch targeting pro-government forces in southern Yemen. The missiles used in these strikes are all unidentified. KSA reportedly intercepted the missiles targeting its territory, and none of the attacks produced casualties.

As previously reported, there has been a significant decrease in reported Houthi missile activity over the past five months. While there are several potential explanations for this, a primary cause is likely that Houthi militants are substituting ballistic missiles with drones. Coinciding with this decrease in missile events is a substantial increase in reported armed UAV attacks.

Below is a summary of reported missile and UAV events and developments during the April 4 to June 4 period.

April 9

Houthi militants fired a ballistic missile into northern Dhalea Province in southern Yemen, where their fighters have clashed with pro-government forces. The unidentified missile fell north of its target, over a farm in Sanaa Province. No casualties were reported.

Yemen: Houthis fired ballistic missile at populated area in northern Dhalea, The National

April 10

The Arab Coalition destroyed two Houthi bases used for storing and deploying UAVs.

The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Targeting and Destruction of two locations (a workshop for manufacturing and a store for platforms for launching and preparing UAVs) In Sana’a Used by Iran-Backed Terrorist Houthi Militia, Saudi Press Agency
Arab coalition strikes Houthi drone capabilities in Sanaa, Arab News

April 16

Houthi militants unveiled an air-burst variant of the Badr ballistic missile, designated the Badr-F. According to Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sari, the missile has a range of 160 km and releases fragments across a 350 m diameter area.

Yemen’s rebels unveil air-bursting missile, IHS Jane’s

May 14

Houthi fighters employed seven explosive-laden drones to target two Saudi Aramco oil pumping stations in the Al-Dawadmi and Afif Governorates, west of Riyadh. The attack caused fires and minor damage to Pump Station No. 8, but no casualties were reported. The targeted stations are part of Saudi Aramco’s East-West pipeline, which transports oil from KSA’s eastern provinces to Yanbu port off the Red Sea, where KSA hosts export facilities. Saudi Aramco temporarily suspended pumping oil through the pipeline following the attacks.

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Attack Saudi Oil Facilities, Escalating Tensions in Gulf, New York Times
Saudi Energy Minister says two pump stations on the East-West pipeline were attacked, confirming sabotage targets global oil supply., Saudi Press Agency
Houthi drone attacks in Saudi ‘show new level of sophistication’, Al Jazeera

May 20

KSA air defense forces intercepted two unidentified Houthi-launched ballistic missiles reportedly targeting Mecca and Jeddah. Reports differ on the intercept location, with some saying both missiles were intercepted over Taif, and other sources saying one missile was intercepted above Taif and another over Jeddah. The Houthis denied the attack, claiming they “did not carry out any military operation towards Saudi territory after the operation of 9 Ramadan [14 May], which targeted Aramco.”

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missiles heading toward Mecca, Jeddah, Al Arabiya
Yemen’s Houthi rebels launch missiles towards Makkah and Riyadh, The National
Yemen’s Houthis deny targeting Mecca with ballistic missiles, Reuters
Yemeni rebels deny ballistic missile attack, IHS Jane’s

May 21

Houthi fighters employed an explosive-laden drone to target Najran airport. Houthis claim the Qasef-2K UAV successfully hit an “arms depot,” while Arab Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki only said the attack was aimed at a civilian site in the area.

Yemen’s Houthis step up drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Reuters
Houthi drone attack ‘hits arms depot’ at Saudi airport in Najran, Al Jazeera

May 22

Houthi fighters employed an explosive-laden drone to target Najran airport. Houthis claim the Qasef-2K UAV targeted Arab Coalition aircraft in the area.

For the second time in 24 hours .. Al-Houthi group targets Najran airport by plane march, Al Jazeera [Arabic]

May 23

KSA air defense forces intercepted a Houthi explosive-laden drone targeting Najran. KSA reports the drone was targeting Najran airport, although Houthi media says it targeted a Patriot missile defense system in the area.

Yemen’s Houthis say they attacked Saudi’s Najran airport by drone, Reuters
Saudi Air Defense destroys drone launched by Houthis on Najran, Al Arabiya
Yemen’s Houthi rebels attack Saudi’s Najran airport – again, Al Jazeera

May 26

KSA air defense forces intercepted a Houthi drone targeting King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Airport in Jizan. The Houthis claimed to be targeting military hangars in the area.

Coalition’s Joint Forces Command “Coalition for Support of Legitimacy in Yemen”: RSADF Intercept and Destroy Explosive-Laden Drone Launched by Houthi Terrorist Militia Towards King Abdullah Airport in Jazan, Saudi Press Agency
Saudi Air Defense destroys Houthi drone targeting Jazan airport, Al Arabiya
Saudi Arabia’s Jizan airport targeted by Houthi drone: Masirah TV, Al Jazeera

June 2

KSA air defense forces intercepted a Houthi drone targeting a pro-government military camp in the port city of Aden in southern Yemen. The pro-government forces were conducting a military parade at the time.

Saudi-led coalition thwarts Houthi drone attack in Aden, The National
Yemen’s Houthis launch drone attack on Saudi-led coalition military parade in Aden, Reuters