Yemeni Army Setting Up Underground Missile Bases

Friday 3 May 2024 - 10:55

The analysis of satellite images by a Western think tank shows that the Yemeni army is setting up several underground missile bases in the provinces of Sanaa and Saada.

The satellite images analyzed by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) show that the Yemeni army is taking steps to expand its underground military facilities by creating several bases in the provinces of Sanaa and Saada.

In the past, the Ansar Allah movement had used natural caves and simple small tunnels to protect its fighters from air strikes by the forces of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and even to deploy its own armed forces. But in recent years, this method has evolved, and completely new underground missile facilities are under construction. These underground facilities were formed before the Ansar Allah movement’s confrontation with the US-UK coalition, indicating that Yemenis had been preparing themselves for future confrontations with the US and other Western powers for years.

According to the satellite images of this report, the Ansar Allah movement is constructing and developing underground military bases in the Al-Hafa area in southeastern Sanaa, the Attan area in southwestern Sanaa, and the eastern heights of Saada.

Comparing of the latest satellite images with pictures from years and months ago shows that the debris from the tunnel entrances has been cleared and new routes have been created for the passage of new and heavy vehicles leading into the tunnels. The images of the Al-Hafa area in early 2018 and March 2022 indicate the development of one of the underground infrastructures of the Yemeni army.

In the Jabal Attan area of Sanaa city, the Ansar Allah movement has in fact expanded the previous Scud missile base of the Yemeni army (during the tenure of Ali Abdullah Saleh), and in the first half of 2023 has started constructing a large tunnel, indicating work on a major underground facility.

Ansar Allah underground base in Attan area, southwest of Sana’a city

In late 2022, the Ansar Allah movement began work on new facilities in a valley east of the city of Saada. Satellite images from February 2024 show three wide tunnel entrances with large amounts of excavated soil piled next to them, indicating heavy vehicle activities. Two other sites near Saada have similar characteristics in relation to the construction of underground military facilities, though they cannot be definitively identified.

After the initial agreement and ceasefire establishment between the Ansar Allah movement and Saudi Arabia in April 2022, the Yemenis have launched extensive efforts to renovate and expand their military facilities, particularly missile and air bases. The Ansar Allah movement’s missile and drone arsenal, as well as the fighter jets and helicopters left over from Ali Abdullah Saleh’s era, require more secure deployment locations, and Yemen’s military bases are being further developed to this end.

The air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the early years of the Yemen war and the destruction of a large portion of Yemen’s air force assets showed that the country’s army urgently needs secure bases to maintain its equipment, and the idea of creating underground bases is the best solution in this regard. The scale of these underground bases, the size of the entrances, and the volume of the excavations indicate that the Ansar Allah movement is not concerned about the disclosure of the locations of these facilities and has taken the necessary security precautions in this regard.

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