Saudi Arabia Receives US Patriot Interceptors as Yemen’s Houthis Intensifies Missile Attacks

Saudi Arabia has received a number of Patriot antimissile interceptors from the United States as part of strengthening its defense capability to repel drone and missile attacks by Iranian-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The Wall Street Journal reported that it was an urgent demand of the Kingdom to get this defense system that had also become a point of contention in relations between Washington and Riyadh. 

The decision was in line with President Joe Biden’s promise that “America will have the backs of our friends in the region,” the official told the newspaper, but did not specify how many Patriot interceptors had been sent.

According to the official, who wished to remain anonymous, the move comes as the Biden administration has increasingly sought to convince Riyadh to pump more crude oil to help alleviate soaring prices spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision to provide Saudi’s with antimissile interceptors come when Houthi rebels intensified cross-border attacks. On Sunday, Yemen’s Houthi launched a series of missile and drone attacks targeting the Kingdom’s water desalination plant, and oil and natural gas production, sparking a fire at a petroleum distribution center in the port of Jeddah, the country’s second-largest city.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen said that the attacks did not cause casualties, but damaged civilian vehicles and homes in the area.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has condemned the attacks on the Kingdom, and pledged to work with the Gulf state to bolster its defense system against cross-border attacks.

“We will continue to fully support our partners in the defense of their territory from Houthi attacks. We call on the international community to do the same,” Sullivan said in a statement.

France also condemned in the strongest possible terms the multiple drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.

“These attacks, which threaten Saudi security and regional stability, must end immediately. They illustrate the severity of the threat that the proliferation of drones and missiles represents to the entire region and the need to respond to it through a regional political dialogue,” French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

France is mobilizing all of its efforts toward achieving a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and the resumption of discussions to reach a comprehensive political agreement under the auspices of the United Nations, according to the statement.

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