Saudi Arabia downs Iranian-backed threat on eve of Israel-UAE flight

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Saudis and Emiratis have increased their abilities with the coalition in Riyadh to confront these types of drones and threats

An Iranian Shahed 171 drone dropping a bomb as part of a military exercise in the Gulf, in Iran (photo credit: REUTERS)
An Iranian Shahed 171 drone dropping a bomb as part of a military exercise in the Gulf, in Iran
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The United Arab Emirates has condemned an Iranian-backed Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport overnight Sunday into early Monday. The attack was intercepted by aircraft from Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are allies against the Yemen-based Houthis, who have fired missiles and drones at the Saudi Kingdom. The UAE says its defense relations with Riyadh help protect both the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as the security of both are indivisible, according to an article at Al Ain News online.The recent attack involved a booby-trapped drone that was sent to attack the airport. Houthis, using Iranian technology, have attacked this airport in southern Saudi Arabia many times.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said some shrapnel fell on the airport as the drone was destroyed, Arab News reported. The coalition will deter the Houthis, he said.

The Saudi-led coalition includes Riyadh’s allies and those fighting the Iranian-backed group. Iran has used drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia.

In August 2019, the Houthis attacked Shaybah oilfield near the border with the UAE. They used drones in the attack, which took place about 1,200 kilometers from where they were allegedly launched. It is not clear how the Houthis achieved this range, since Iranian drones sually have a range of 1,000 km.

This represented an increased Houthi threat to the Emirates, Voice of America reported at the time. In 2018, the Houthis claimed that drones had penetrated UAE airspace. The Emirates denied it.Since those threats, the Saudis and Emiratis have increased their abilities with the coalition in Riyadh to confront these types of drones and threats.

Saudi air defense has become more proficient at stopping a plethora of threats from Yemen.

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