SANAA, Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi group said on Friday it targeted “important positions” in Saudi Arabia in three drone attacks.

The Saudi-led coalition, however, said it destroyed a Houthi drone aiming to target the southern Khamis Mushait city.

“The UAV air force managed to target important positions at King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushait area and Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia,” said Yahya Sarei, a Houthi military spokesperson.

He said the attacks were carried out with three explosives-laden drones, and were in retaliation to coalition airstrikes and the “continued blockade on our country.”

The Saudi Press Agency ran a statement from an official saying that its forces managed to “intercept and destroy a booby-trapped drone fired by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia.”

Col. Turki al-Maliki, a coalition spokesperson, said the drone attack was part of a “deliberate and systematic” attempt to “target civilians and civilian areas in Khamis Mushait.”

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to UN estimates, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of at least 233,000 people, with millions more facing starvation and in need of humanitarian assistance.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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