Even as Iranians were lining up to buy masks to help stop the coronavirus from spreading, the regime was urging the Houthis in Yemen to attack Saudi Arabia amid the G20 gathering. Finance ministers from around the world as well as other central bank governors met in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Saturday amid the growing virus crisis and concerns over security in the region.
Iran and its allies were planning to disrupt the meeting. On Sunday naval forces from the Saudi Arabia-led alliance stopped an “Iranian-backed Houthi militia attempt to conduct imminent and hostile action,” according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Tukri al-Maliki. The Houthis had tried to use a booby-trapped boat.
In addition, several marine mines were found in the Bab al-Mandab straits. The remote controlled boat laden with explosives was found in the Red Sea. In 2017, Houthis attacked a Saudi ship with a missile. They also attacked a ship in July 2018 and tried again in July 2019. Saudi Arabia also says it has intercepted ballistic missiles fired from Yemen by the Houthis that were intended to disrupt the G20 gathering. These included a missile fired from near Sana’a in Yemen that flew toward the port city of Yanbu on Friday. The Houthis and Iran call this a “balance of deterrence” in a new report at Tasnim. They claim that the attack was indeed designed to coincide with the eve of the G20 meeting, and as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was traveling to Oman. “The message was sent in response to the killing of 40 Yemeni civilians on February 15,” the Houthis claim.
Saudi Arabia and allies have been fighting the Houthis since 2015 when the kingdom intervened in Yemen. This has wider regional implications and was likely conducted with Iran’s direct approval and support.
The Houthis also launched 12 Sammad drones and two Quds-type missiles, Tasnim says. Only last week were the contents of the seized ship revealed by CENTCOM. They include drone and cruise missile components, as well as a new 358 missile.
The new missile has electro-optical sensors and may be a threat to helicopters. Tehran increasingly wants to arm groups like the Houthis with its most sophisticated equipment. This may be a way to test Iran’s drones and missiles. It is also a way to send a message to Saudi Arabia.
Source » jpost