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Saudi-led coalition says intercepts drone, Houthis say Abha airport hit

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Thursday it had intercepted and destroyed an explosive drone launched towards the kingdom, as Yemen's Houthi group said it had hit a target at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport.

Adds Houthi claim to have hit Abha airport

DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Thursday it had intercepted and destroyed an explosive drone launched towards the kingdom, as Yemen's Houthi group said it had hit a target at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport.

In a statement published by Saudi state news agency SPA, a spokesman for the coalition said the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen had launched the drone at civilian targets in the southern Saudi region of Khamis Mushait, near the Yemeni border.

A spokesman for the Houthi military forces, Yahya Sarea, said a drone had made a precise strike on a military target at Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

Abha airport, near the border, has been a regular target for Houthi drones and missiles in the last two years. Many have been intercepted, but some have hit, causing deaths and injuries.

Yemen has been mired in conflict since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to restore the Yemeni government ousted from power in the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces in late 2014.

The U.N. is mediating a process to try to get Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Houthis to reach an agreement to end the war and ease a humanitarian crisis in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country.

Delegations from the warring parties are due to meet in Switzerland this week for talks on a U.N.-backed prisoner exchange deal.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Catherine Evans)

((Nafisa.Eltahir@thomsonreuters.com; +971 56 226 1754;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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