Calling Iran’s attempted missile attack on Riyadh’s main airport this weekend an “act of war,” Saudi Arabia vowed on Monday to “respond.”
The missile, which was fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saturday, traveled more than 500 miles before Saudi Arabia intercepted it.
According to the official Saudi Press Agency, debris from the missile proved that it was made in Iran and smuggled into Yemen.
Saudi military forces have intercepted missiles fired from Houthis several times since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched a war against Houthi rebels and their allies after they captured northern Yemen and ousted the Saudi-backed president from power, according to a report at Fox News. The kingdom has also imposed an air and sea blockade on Yemen.
More than 10,000 civilians and 3 million others have been displaced in the stalemate war, pushing the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.
The United States, which is one of the kingdom’s most important military suppliers, has backed the coalition with logistical support.
In the past, Saudi Arabia has accused its rival of training and helping arm the rebels. Iran denies that it has provided material support, though it acknowledges its political support of the Houthis.
The attempted missile strike was “a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime and could rise to be considered as an act of war,” the Saudi Press Agency said in a statement. The country “reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner, in accordance with international law and based on the right of self-defense,” it continued.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir told CNN: “We see this as an act of war. Iran cannot lob missiles at Saudi cities and towns and expect us not to take steps.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi shot back, calling Saudi Arabia’s claims “false, irresponsible, destructive and provocative,” according to the Iranian news agency, Tasnim.
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