Saturday, 04 December 2021 05:18 GMT

'An act of war'


(MENAFN- Jordan Times) Houthi militias on Saturday fired a missile at the Riyadh airport, an act Saudi Arabia accused Iran of, saying it could be considered an 'act of war' and that the kingdom has the right to defend itself.

The missile was intercepted by Saudi air defences, but the attack is expected to increase the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries that fight for regional control and that have been involved in proxy wars in both Yemen and Syria.

The Saudi foreign minister on Monday said his country reserves the right to respond to Iran's 'hostile actions'; he also said that Iran's interference in the region harms neighbouring countries and international peace and security, an accusation the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen largely echoed.

The long-range missile deployed against Saudi Arabia, called Burqan 2H, seems to have had a sophisticated guidance system, which, Riyadh believes, could not have been produced by Yemen.

Iran, however, denies involvement, with Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari saying that 'these are their [Houthis'] own missiles with improved range' and that Iran has 'no possibility to transfer missiles to Yemen'.

The Houthis said they had launched the missile in response to the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen in a war that has wreaked havoc on the country.

Still, the Saudi Press Agency issued a statement saying 'a thorough examination of the debris of these missiles, including the missile launched on July 22, 2017, has confirmed the role of Iran's regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people and vital interests'.

Whatever the origin of the missile, the attack is bound to raise the level of violence even higher.

The only way to de-escalate the tension is to put an end to the war that has taken a serious toll on the Yemeni population: over 10,000 died and more are threatened by famine and diseases.

There are enough flash points in the region already. The UN Security Council should authoritatively intervene to prevent the war in Yemen from becoming a larger regional armed conflict.

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