Saudi Arabia has blamed Iran for being complicit in firing a ballistic missile towards Riyadh by Houthi rebels in Yemen, arguing that Tehran was behind the strike and labelling it a potential “act of war”.
A statement issued on November 6 via the state news agency SPA denounced the “military aggression by the Iranian-controlled Houthi militias.” It also said that an examination of the debris “confirmed the role of Iran’s regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests”.
“Iran’s role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally,” the statement said.
“Therefore, the Coalition’s Command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The statement also noted that Iran violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits states from supplying weapons to Yemeni armed groups.
According to the statement, Saudi Arabia would temporarily close all Yemeni ground, air and sea ports while investigating how the missiles were smuggled in. Yemen’s national airline, Yemenia, subsequently cancelled all flights to the country.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and political leaders have rejected allegations of the country’s involvement in the strike.
Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed a “ballistic missile” north-east of the capital, Riyadh, on November 5 after it was launched from Yemen. Colonel Turki al-Maliki said Saudi forces intercepted the ballistic missile with a surface-to-air Patriot missile, which caused it to shatter into fragments in an “uninhabited area” east of Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed they had fired the missile. They fired a Burkan 2-H missile — a Scud-type missile with a range of more than 800 km — towards Riyadh late on October 4, according to Al-Jazeera.
The Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen carried out at least 29 air strikes on Sanaa province in the aftermath of the intercepted missile, Al-Jazeera reported. The Houthi-run Saba news agency reported more than 15 air strikes in Sanaa and a further 14 in the districts of Sinhan and Bani Bahloul.