US official: Yemen fired Iranian missile at Saudis

US official: Yemen fired Iranian missile at Saudis
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Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the top Air Force official in the Middle East, said Friday that the ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels toward the Saudi capital last week was manufactured by Iran. 

Harrigian's claim, reported by The Associated Press, backs up Saudi Arabia's accusations that Tehran has been supplying the Houthi rebels with weapons.

“There have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” Harrigian said at news conference in Dubai, according to the AP. “To me, that connects the dots to Iran.”


Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that it had intercepted the missile over the international airport in Riyadh. Saudi investigators later said that they determined after examining the missile's remains that it was manufactured by Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview on CNN on Monday that Riyadh sees the missile attack as "an act of war." 

Harrigian did not offer any details on the type of missile it was believed to be, and did not say how Iran sidestepped the blockade of Yemen imposed by the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Arabia tightened that blockade this week. 

“How they got it there is probably something that will continue to be investigated over time,” he said. “What has been demonstrated and shown based on the findings of that missile is that it had Iranian markings on it. That in itself provides evidence of where it came from.”

Iran has denied the allegations that it provided the Houthi rebels with the rocket. Still, the episode has pushed the decades-old animosity between Iran and Saudi Arabia to a dangerous point.

Also driving tensions is the sudden resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced in a televised address from Riyadh on Saturday that he would step down because of Iranian influence and aggression in the region. 

Saudi Arabia and Iran have long vied for influence in Lebanon. Riyadh called on Saudi citizens in Lebanon to leave the country on Thursday amid the growing hostilities with Iran.