Houthi rebel drone attacks are on the rise, and they’re getting more sophisticated. United Nations investigators have said the rebels, with their newest UAV-X planes, can travel 150mph and just over 900 miles. They are also using remote-controlled boats to target ships off the coast of Yemen. According to the U.N., these unmanned threats put much of the Gulf, including Saudi and Emirates capitals, and one of the busiest shipping routes, the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb within range. Dion Nissenbaum and Warren Strobel of The WSJ write (abridged).
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched armed drone attacks with far more precision and reach than the U.S. and its Gulf allies have publicly acknowledged, people familiar with the matter said, showing how readily available technology is creating new dangers for America and its allies in the Middle East. […]
U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Houthi drones could pose a threat to commercial shipping and American military ships in the region.
“U.S. allies in the Middle East understand the violent destabilizing effect the Iranian-backed Houthis have across Yemen and neighboring countries, but there are many who aren’t taking it seriously enough,” said a senior U.S. administration official.
The rise in drone attacks comes as the number of successful Houthi ballistic-missile attacks has fallen. Houthi forces have launched more than 225 missiles during the war, including several that have hit Riyadh, Saudi officials said. But the last successful Houthi missile attack appears to have been in late 2018, according to available data. Saudi officials said they have shot down more drones recently than missiles.
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