US President Donald Trump has been briefed on the details of a missile strike in Saudi Arabia that appeared to come from Yemen, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has said, as Iran claimed in a separate incident to have shot down a US drone over its territory.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies,” Sanders said on Wednesday, in relation to the Saudi missile strike.
Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, who ousted the Saudi-backed internationally recognised government in late 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities in the past two weeks.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency claimed the country’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a US drone when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the southern Hormozgan province. It said the drone was RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The US military denied any US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace at the time of the claimed attack. Captain Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down but said “there was no drone over Iranian territory.”
Last week the US military alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone that responded to the oil tanker attacks near the Gulf of Oman.
Earlier, Houthis said they had attacked a power station in the Saudi province of Jizan, with a cruise missile, according to the group’s Al Masirah TV.
There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities.
Tensions in the Gulf have been heightened since 13 June, when the US accused Iran of attacking two tankers in the the Gulf of Oman with mines. The US military released footage it said showed the Iranian military removing an unexploded mine from the side of one of the tankers.
Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch rival, blamed Tehran for the attack. On 16 June Mohammed bin Salman vowed Saudi Arabia “won’t hesitate to deal with any threat” to the kingdom’s interests. Iran has denied any involvement.
Ali Noorani (@ali_noorani_teh)
Relations between Iran and the US have deteriorated since last year, when Trump announced the US would withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.