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Extremists continue to explore ways to surprise their enemies. The Iranian-aligned Shiite Houthi group in Yemen operated a drone strike on a attacked a Yemeni government military parade at Al Anad military base earlier in January, killing at least six people. Threatening to launch more drone attacks, the Houthi spokesman said the movement was building a stockpile locally manufactured drones, according to international news agencies.
The attack shows how the Arab world’s poorest country has become one of the world’s top battlefields for drones. Both the rebels and the Saudi-led coalition fighting them, as well as the US, continue to use drones for surveillance and attacks.
But while the US uses American-made drones and the coalition has turned to Chinese suppliers, the manufacturer of the Houthis’ drones in both the air and the sea has been a contentious question, according to indiatimes.com.
The Houthis’ Qatef-1 drone, or “Striker,” is apparently assembled from components supplied by an outside source and shipped into Yemen. In fact, it is virtually identical in design, dimensions and capability to that of the Ababil-T, manufactured by the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries. The Ababil-T can deliver up to a 45-kilogram (100-pound) warhead up to 150 kilometers (95 miles) away.
The Qatef-2K, which the Houthis said they used in the recent attack, similarly resembles the Iranian designs.
Iran would have an interest in seeing Saudi Arabia, its archrival in the region, tied down in a bloody, protracted conflict with no clear end in sight.
Coalition forces last year also showed journalists a Houthi “drone boat” filled with explosives that failed to detonate, with pictures and associated data proving Iranians involvement. For its part, Iran repeatedly has denied supplying the Houthis with drone or ballistic missile technology.