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This Jan. 3, 2017 file photo, newly recruited Al Houthis, march during a gathering aimed at mobilising more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities, in Sana'a, Yemen. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Yemen’s Iran-backed Al Houthi militants said they launched a drone attack on a Patriot missile battery in the airport of the Saudi city of Najran near the Yemeni border, the group’s Al Masirah TV said on Thursday.

Al Houthis, who ousted the internationally-recognised Yemeni president from power in the capital Sana’a in 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in the past ten days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United Nations-led peace efforts.

The group claimed responsibility for last week’s armed drone strikes on oil assets in Saudi Arabia and on Sunday said they would attack 300 vital military targets in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

This is the third Al Houthi strike or attempt to strike Najran in a week, according to Saudi and Al Houthi reports.

The latest hostilities coincide with rising tensions between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied to the United States and come just as a sensitive, UN-sponsored peace deal is being carried out in Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions.

There was no Saudi confirmation of Thursday’s attack. Al Masirah did not say what damage resulted from the attack.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over Al Houthi drones targeting Najran’s airport.

In comments on Wednesday, he condemned the attacks.

“He condemns these attacks, as well as any attack targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, which violate international humanitarian law,” UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Guterres called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to remain calm, avoid further escalation of the tensions and engage in constructive negotiations with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to achieve the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.