Saudi Arabia Blames Iran for Attempted Missile Attack on Airport

Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for an attempted missile attack on Riyadh’s international airport, saying it could be considered an act of war.

The missile was a direct military aggression by Iran, according to a statement early Monday from the Saudi military coalition carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The kingdom has the right to defend its land and people, it said.

Iran provided Yemen’s Houthi militia with ballistic missiles, launchers, explosive-laden drones and sea mines, Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said earlier on state-run television.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run media said Saturday the kingdom’s air defenses had intercepted a missile northeast of Riyadh, with no damage to the airport. The Houthi rebels said the same day they had targeted the airport with a ballistic missile.

Saudi Arabia has lead a coalition of countries against the pro-Iranian militias, which overthrew Yemen’s government in 2015. The Saudi coalition said in a statement it had decided to temporarily close all Yemeni land, sea and air crossings except for aid and rescue teams.

President Donald Trump told Saudi King Salman in a phone call on Saturday he would support the purchase of American military equipment to keep Saudi Arabia safe. Trump and Salman discussed the “continuing threat of Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen” and the intercepted missile attack, according to a readout provided by the White House.

In comments on Monday to business leaders in Japan, Trump praised the Saudi missile defenses, saying they “took the missile right out of the air. Blew it up.”

–With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs

on this story: Zaid Sabah