Tel Aviv – Saudi Arabia is preparing to buy air defence systems from Israel. Saudi Arabia needs an air defence system to thwart missile attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The withdrawal of the Patriot system by the United States has increased the threat to Saudi air security, the Israeli magazine claimed.
In 2019, Houthi rebels stepped up rocket and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi fuel projects. Former US President Donald Trump had immediately deployed the Patriot system in Saudi Arabia. But in recent months, the United States has withdrawn two advanced air defence systems from Saudi Arabia, the Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAD) and the Patriot. These include the Patriot system deployed at Prince Sultan Airport in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The removal of the systems is claimed to have threatened Saudi air security. It is feared that Iran-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen will take advantage of this to launch fresh attacks on Saudi Arabia. Against this backdrop, Saudi Arabia is seriously considering strengthening its air security. According to Israeli sources, Saudi Arabia is considering Russian as well as Israeli air security systems.
Israeli military sources said they seriously considered two of Israel’s most successful air defence systems, the Iron Dome and the Barak ER. Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia has responded to the Israeli magazine’s claim. But Iranian state media have taken cognisance of the news.