General Steven Wilson, vice-chief of staff of the US Air Force, told the news media that, “What we have seen as a result of the ballistic missile attacks and there were Iranian markings also that was inventoried by the Arab coalition… all the dots now connect to Iran in terms of supplying missiles and the capability.”
On Friday, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the Air Forces Central Command in Qatar, made similar statements at a news conference in Dubai. Harrigian said authorities were investigating the means by which the missile was smuggled into Yemen while a Saudi-led coalition controlled the country’s airspace, ports and borders.
The White House condemned the missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi militias on November 4th, and said Iran “enabled” the attacks which had threatened stability in the Middle East. In a statement it said, “Houthi missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, enabled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threaten regional security and undermine UN efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict.”
According to experts in Saudi Arabia, the ballistic missile had a range of more than 900 km and was made in Iran. The Saudis describe the attack as an “act of war”. The Saudi government claimed to know every detail about where it came from. In fact, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir declared on November 6th, “It was an Iranian missile, launched by Hizballah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen.” The next day, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman added, “Direct military aggression by the Iranian regime.”
The Yemeni rebels released a video that purported to show the missile being launched at night, and said they hit Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to the north of Riyadh with a Burkan-2H ballistic missile.
Previously, on May 19th, the Houthis fired a Burkan-2 variant at the city just hours before President Trump touched down for a visit. However, this latest strike follows the U.S. announcement of a new “pushback” strategy against the Iranian regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Responding to the attack, the US President stated, “A shot was taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia.” The Saudi government also blamed “the Iranian regime” and said the strike could “be considered an act of war.”
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that air defenses intercepted the missile before it hit the airport and its debris landed in an uninhabited area north of the capital.