Saudi Arabia recently rejected an Israeli offer to provide it with Iron Dome rocket defense technology, a London-based Arab newspaper reported Saturday.
According to an article in Rai al-Youm, Israel conveyed the proposal to Saudi officials via American diplomats stationed in Jordan, as a means to combat rocket attacks by Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen.
The report stated that the Saudis turned down the offer for unspecified reasons.
There was no confirmation of the report by any official sources.
Israel’s Iron Dome system has been used in recent years to intercept and destroy rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip. It has proven highly effective in protecting the civilian population from the rocekt threat.
The system was used extensively during 2014’s summer war in Gaza. According to official IDF figures, it intercepted roughly 90 percent of the projectiles it targeted during the war, including rockets fired at Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv region.
The Houthis have occasionally carried out cross-border attacks from Yemen’s Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia and serves as the rebels’ home base. Yahia al-Qahtani, the spokesman for the Saudi civil defense authority in the southern Saudi border region of Jizan, said on Friday that a child was killed and three other children wounded when missiles from inside Yemen struck their village a day earlier.
The Saudi-led coalition on Friday launched heavy airstrikes against the Shiite rebels, targeting camps and weapons depots in the rebel-held capital.
Residents of Sanaa awoke to the sound of explosions early Friday morning as warplanes targeted weapons caches in Noqum mountain, sending up bursts of flames and columns of smoke.
Yemen’s war pits forces loyal to the country’s exiled president against the Houthis and allied military units. In Saada province on Friday, a new front in the war appeared to have opened as heavily armed pro-government tribesmen began advancing on the city of Saada — the capital of Saada province and the stronghold of the Houthi rebels, according to military officials and tribesmen.
The UN is planning to hold peace talks in Geneva at the end of May and the organization has urged all rival parties to participate. So far, the rebels have expressed support for the talks while the internationally recognized government-in-exile has said it would only participate if the rebels withdraw from cities they occupy — including the capital..