Even as Saudi Arabia and Iran has started repairing mutual ties, Tehran-supported Yemeni Armed Forces (YAF) downed a Chinese-made Wing Loong 2 spy drone operated by the Saudi-led coalition over Al-Jawf Province Tuesday.
"Yemeni Air Defenses shot down the drone using a locally-made missile," confirmed Armed Forces spokesman Yahya Saree on Tuesday, Yemen's Almasirah news reported.
The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the matter. The Wing Loong II drone is capable of staying airborne for 6-10 hours and carry out armed -reconnaissance missions.
While there has been a lull in fighting in Yemen since the beginning of 2023, it remain to be see how the shooting down of the drone will impact the China-brokered peace deal.
Iran and Saudi Arabia announced last week a deal to restore relations and re-open each other's embassies shut since 2016. "But how it ultimately impacts the Middle East remains a very open question, as the long adversarial powers are fighting a proxy war in Yemen and continue to support opposing sides across the region," the United States Institute of Peace commented March 16.
Some reports suggest that Iran agreed to stop arming the YAF as part of the peace deal with the Saudis. It is widely believed missiles and other heavy weapons in possession of the YAF come from Iran.
It remains to be seen how the downing of the Saudi Wing Loong drone is viewed in Riyadh from the perspective of mending relations with Tehran.