The United States has transferred a “significant number” of Patriot missile systems to Saudi Arabia over the past month, The Wall Street Journal reports citing senior US officials…reports Asian Lite News
Riyadh had been requesting Patriot deliveries from Washington since the end of last year when the supply was running low.
According to The Wall Street Journal, it took the administration of US President Joe Biden several months to fulfil Saudi Arabia’s urgent request, amid high demand for Patriot interceptors among Washington’s allies .
A US official told the newspaper that the Patriot transfers are intended to help Saudi Arabia fend off drone and missile attacks carried out by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Yemen has been gripped by an internal conflict between the government forces and the Houthi movement for over six years. Since 2015, the Saudi-led coalition fighting on the government’s side has been conducting air, land and sea operations against the rebels. The Houthis often retaliate by firing projectiles and bomber drones on Saudi territory. The United Nations has described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Two days ago, the Saudi air defences intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile and nine bomb-laden drones targeting civilian objects and economic installations in the Kingdom.
Following the attacks, a limited fire was also reported at the Aramco distribution station for petroleum products in Jeddah which was brought under control later.
“Initial investigations indicate that the militia has used (Iranian) cruise missiles that targeted Al Shuqaiq Water Desalination Plant and Aramco’s Jizan Bulk Plant,” said Brigadier General Turki Al-Malki, spokesperson for the Saudi-led Coaliton.
The targeted locations also include the power transmission station in Dhahran Al Janub, the National Gas and Industrialization Company’s Khamis Mushait Gas Station, and Aramco’s Liquified Gas Plant in Yanbu.
These hostile attacks and scattered debris as a result of their interception caused some material damages to the facilities, civilian vehicles and civilian houses, and no loss of life was recorded until the issuance of the statement.
He said these attacks are a dangerous escalation and represents Houthis’ approach towards the peace consultations offered by the GCC.
“They also represent the terrorist Houthi militia’s position in regards to the invitation extended by H.E. the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council in order to host inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni consultations, and underline the militia’s approach of rejection towards all international efforts and initiatives, including the Saudi Initiative, and reaching a comprehensive and sustainable political resolution to end the Yemeni crisis,” the statement added.
GCC Secretary General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf had earlier invited all Yemeni parties involved to hold consultations under the auspices of the council, set for March 29 to the seventh of April in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. (with inputs from ANI/Sputnik)