The Iranian-sponsored Houthi rebels in Yemen have escalated their drone war against Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf and launched two separate drone attacks on the kingdom’s Najran Airport within 24 hours.
The rebel group said Tuesday that one of their drones hit the airport in Najran with a Qasef-2K drone, targeting an “arms depot.” Najran, located 525 miles southwest of Riyadh, lies on the Saudi-Yemen border and has repeatedly been the target of Iranian-coordinated attacks.
Early on Wednesday, the group’s Al Masirah TV reported that the Houthis had launched a second drone attack on the airport, striking hangars containing war planes. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
A Saudi government spokesperson later confirmed the attack but said the Iranian-sponsored group had attempted to attack “civilian targets” at the airport. The latest incident was part of a series of assaults with ballistic missiles and drones toward airports and urban centers in Saudi Arabia.
In May 2018, the Houthis launched seven ballistic missiles toward several Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh, killing an Egyptian man and wounding two others. The group, which receives orders from Tehran, also threatened to attack international commercial maritime traffic in the Red Sea.
Last week, the Houthis launched coordinated drone assaults on two oil pump stations, which maintain the flow rates of a major Saudi oil pipeline, amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia claimed that two of its oil tankers and two other vessels were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, in what American intelligence services believe was an attack ordered and carried out by Iranian agents.
The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iranian aggression.
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