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Saudis Accuse Iran Of ‘Military Aggression’ After Houthi Missile Launch


Yemen - A tribal fighter loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed government inspects landmines, allegedly planted by Houthi rebels, after they seized control of areas in Marib province, Yemen, 04 October 2015

By RFE/RL

A Saudi-led military coalition is blaming Iran for the launchi of a ballistic missile by Yemeni Shi’ite rebels toward Riyadh, warning that it could be "considered as an act of war" and that it reserves its “right to respond.”

A statement issued early on November 6 said that "Iran's role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally.”

“Therefore, the coalition's command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the statement said.

"The coalition command also affirms that the kingdom reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner," it added.

The Saudi-led coalition closed off land, sea, and air access to Yemen on October 30 after a ballistic missile targeted Riyadh two days earlier. It said the temporary closings would “take into account” the work of humanitarian groups.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal, and Sudan have supplied assets to the Saudi-led alliance.

The coalition accused Iran of supplying the Houthi rebels the missile launched toward Riyadh’s international airport. The Saudis said they shot down the missile before it hit its target.

The coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the Houthis after the rebels overran Yemen's capital, Sanaa, the previous year and forced the Saudi-backed government to flee into exile.

There was no immediate comment from Tehran over the Saudi comments, although its defense minister earlier said Iran was not involved in the launch of the missile.

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, and Shi'ite-majority Iran are bitter rivals in the region. U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Iran of supporting terror groups in the Middle East.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

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