Donald Trump has blamed Iran after Saudi Arabia was forced to blast a ballistic missile out of the sky near Riyadh.
The U.S. President called Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in the aftermath of the incident to discuss counter-terrorism efforts and “the continuing threat of Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.”
“A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down,” said Trump, referring to the Patriot missile batteries Saudi Arabia has purchased from the U.S.
“That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make and now we’re selling it all over the world.”
Saudi Arabia said its forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen toward one of the kingdom’s major international airports on the outskirts of Riyadh.
The missile was destroyed near Riyadh’s King Khaled international airport and was said to be of ‘limited size’.
No injuries or damage were reported.
When The White House made contact with Riyadh, President Trump also thanked the monarch for Saudi Arabia’s military purchases, including a $15 billion investment in the American-made THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system.
Only hours before the missile was shout out of the sky, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri resigned from his post in a televised address from Riyadh, offering a vicious tirade against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah group for what he said was their meddling in Arab affairs.
“Iran’s arms in the region will be cut off,” Hariri said.
Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for firing missile, which was targeting the airport, the Houthis’ Al-Masirah television said.
Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor, has been ripped apart by a war between the Saudi-backed government of president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
Rebels continue to hold much of Yemen and the United Nations has warned the country is on the brink of famine.
The intergovernmental organization has failed to agree on a peace deal to end the fighting, which has left more than 8,600 people dead since the coalition entered the conflict.
More than 2,100 people in Yemen have been killed since a cholera outbreak in April as hospitals struggled to secure basic supplies amid a coalition air and sea blockade.