The Latest: Yemen’s Houthi rebels launch Saudi drone attack
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf (all times local):
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they’ve launched a new drone attack against Saudi Arabia. The kingdom says it shot down one Houthi drone.
The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel announced the attack late Saturday night. Yahia al-Sarie, a Houthi spokesman, said their drones targeted airports in Jizan and Abha in Saudi Arabia.
Early Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it shot down a drone near the Abha regional airport.
A statement from spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki did not address the Houthi claim regarding a drone attack on Jizan.
The Houthis say they launched a cruise missile that struck the Abha airport Wednesday. Saudi Arabia says that attack wounded 26 people.
6:40 a.m. Saturday
The U.S. military says Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops tried but failed to shoot down a U.S. drone over the Gulf of Oman earlier this week to disrupt surveillance of an attack on an oil tanker.
In a statement released Saturday, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command says the drone had been observing the motor tanker Front Altair as it was on fire. Several minutes later, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile tried to bring down the drone.
The spokesman, Lt . Col. Earl Brown, says subsequent analysis indicates the missile was a likely attempt to disrupt the drone’s surveillance of a second oil tanker, the Kokuka Courageous.
The U.S. has blamed Iran for what it described as an attack with limpet mines on the two tankers last Thursday.
Iran has summoned the British ambassador after London agreed with the U.S. conclusion that Iran attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Saturday’s report by the official IRNA news agency reports that Iranian diplomat Mahmoud Barimani in a meeting with Ambassador Robert Macaire strongly protested Britain’s “blindly and hastily following” the United States in accusing Iran. The Iranian side also sought a “correction” on the Britain’s stance.
The British Foreign Office on Friday said in a statement that it concluded “it is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, attacked the tankers on Thursday.
The U.S. immediately blamed Iran for the attack. Tehran has denied being involved and accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign against it.
Crew members of the Norwegian-owned oil tanker that was attacked in the Gulf of Oman have landed in Dubai after two days in Iran.
Associated Press journalists saw the crew members of the MT Front Altair on Saturday night after their Iran Air flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran, landed in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The Front Altair caught fire after the attack Thursday, sending a thick cloud of black smoke visible even by satellite from space.
The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack, saying they suspect another limpet mine attack on oil tankers by Iran. Tehran has denied being involved and accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign against it.
The United Arab Emirates’ top diplomat says evidence his country possesses indicates that recent attacks against oil tankers inside UAE waters were “state-sponsored.”
Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Cyprus on Saturday, didn’t name the state, but said his country wants to work with other nations to prevent a further escalation of tensions in the region.
On Friday, the U.S. military released video footage it said suggested that Iran wanted to hide evidence that it was behind the attacks. Iran has denied involvement.
Al Nahyan said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Saturday that the U.A.E. presented this evidence to the U.N. Security Council in a “very technical, open and transparent” manner.
He said the UAE’s conclusion is that these were “state-sponsored attacks.”