Jerusalem PostMiddle East
Iran media celebrates Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN JULY 6, 2019 19:23
HOUTHI MOVEMENT supporters shout slogans as they attend a rally to mark the fourth anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen’s war, in Sana’a, Yemen, on March 26.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US has blamed Iran for Houthi drone attacks and Iran is seeking to improve its drone and cruise missile technology.
In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered headlines with a story of a drone attack on Jizan Airport in southern Saudi Arabia.The report from Fars News says the Yemeni Armed Forces – its term for the Houthi rebels – launched a drone attack Thursday night on Jizan Airport and “significant military targets” at the airport. The drones were described as Qasef-K2, which were using precision guidance. The Houthis claimed the attack was the latest in a series retaliating for Saudi airstrikes over the last four years, since Riyadh intervened in Yemen to stop the Houthis seizing the Port of Aden.The Houthis also said the drone raid was an attempt to show the US what they are capable of.Houthis celebrated what they claimed was the end of flights in Jizan due to the drones. Tasnim News also reported the attack.However, some other prominent Iranian websites, such as Press TV, ISNA and Mehr, did not yet have reports of the attack.What is interesting is the attention Iranian media tends to put on the drone strikes, sometimes announcing them just after the Houthis claim they happened in the past. This means Iranian media get their reports from the Houthis and closely follow their attacks.There is evidence that Houthi drones and rockets are linked to Iranian technology and know-how.US National Security Advisor John Bolton blamed Iran for Houthi drone attacks in late May.A study in 2018 presented to the UN concluded that the Qasef-1 drone was assembled from parts shipped from outside Yemen. The report also noted that the drone was “virtually identical” to an Ababil-T drone made by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries, which can fly some 150 km. carrying a 45-kg. warhead. A survey of recent attacks on Saudi Arabia shows that drone attacks have been carried out several times a week since early May. Jizan was targeted at least five times, Abha nine times, and Najran at least twice. Qasef-K2 drones have been used in many of these attacks.This means that the Houthis have increased the number of their attacks. Nine people were injured in July 1 in an attack on Abha. In two other attack in June, dozens were injured and one killed. The use of drones by the Houthis is part of the growing use of drones by Iran and its allies.In February 2018, an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria. It has been reported that an Iranian drone base was located near the T-4 Airbase in Syria, on the road from Homs to Palmyra. Iran used a drone last fall also to monitor in real-time its missile attack against dissidents in Koya in northern Iraq.
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