U.S. General: Missile Targeting Saudi Capital Was Iranian

Supporters of the Shiite Huthi movement raise their weapons during a gathering in the capital Sanaa, Yemen / Getty Images
• November 10, 2017 12:18 pm


The top U.S. Air Force official in the Middle East said Friday that the ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels and intercepted by Saudi Arabian forces late last week originated from Iran and bore "Iranian markings."

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the Air Force's Central Command in Qatar, said an investigation of the Saudi capital-bound missile's remains uncovered evidence proving "the role of [the] Iranian regime in manufacturing" the missile, according to CBS News.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it also found similar evidence regarding Iranian manufactured missiles after a July 22 launch from Yemen.

CBS News noted French President Emmanuel Macron similarly said the missile was "obviously" Iranian earlier this week.

Harrigian made his comments during a news conference in Dubai on Friday following the most recent strike near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but declined to mention any specifics on what type of missile they believe it was.

Saudi Arabia reported it shot down the missile on Nov. 4 near Riyadh's international airport, the deepest location to date for a rebel missile to reach.

The country has long has accused Iran of providing weapons to the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies.  In turn, Tehran has long denied supplying the missiles.

Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute For Near East Policy who previously worked in Yemen, said in an analysis Thursday that "it is not a stretch" to believe Iran is supporting Houthi rebels.

It is "not a stretch to believe that Tehran is supporting the Houthi missile program with technical advice and specialized components," Knights wrote. "After all, the Houthis have rapidly fielded three major new missile systems in less than two years while under wartime conditions and international blockade."

Published under: Iran, Missile Defense, Saudi Arabia, Yemen