Iran-linked Yemen rebels claim attack on Saudi airport
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Iran-linked Yemen rebels claim attack on Saudi airport

Houthi TV says drones launched by group targeted airport in Jizan; no confirmation from Saudi Arabia

Illustrative: Reporters film the scene during a media presentation of what Saudi officials say is the wreckage of Iranian-Houthi suicide drones, in Khobar city, Saudi Arabia, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Illustrative: Reporters film the scene during a media presentation of what Saudi officials say is the wreckage of Iranian-Houthi suicide drones, in Khobar city, Saudi Arabia, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Sunday they attacked military targets at an airport in Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian-linked group’s Al-Masirah TV said multiple drones were used in the attack, which targeted bunkers housing Saudi drones at the airport in the southern city of Jizan, according to Reuters.

There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi Arabia of the attack, nor were there reports of injuries or damage.

Last month, the Houthis attacked an airport and military base in Najran, also in southern Saudi Arabia, using a bomb-laden drone.

The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a ‘sabotage’ attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)

A week before that, the Houthis launched a coordinated drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. That came on the heels of the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, which the US has blamed on Iran.

The incidents have come amid a rise in tensions between the United States and Iran after the US sent nuclear-capable bombers and an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf over what it said were Iranian threats.

US President Donald Trump, however, said he is not seeking a war with Iran.

The top commander of American forces in the Mideast said Thursday that Iran had chosen to “step back and recalculate” after making preparations for an apparent attack against US forces in the Persian Gulf region.

But Gen. Frank McKenzie said it was too early to conclude the threat is gone, and he remained concerned by Iran’s potential for aggression.

In an interview with three reporters accompanying him to the Gulf, McKenzie said he would not rule out requesting additional US forces to bolster defenses against Iranian missiles or other weapons.

“I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished,” McKenzie said. “I believe the threat is very real.”

McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, and other military officials are trying to strike a balance between persuading Iran that the US is prepared to retaliate for an Iranian attack on Americans, thus deterring conflict, while not pushing so much military muscle into the Gulf that Iran thinks the US plans an attack, in which case it might feel compelled to strike preemptively and thus spark war.

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