Debris of Iranian-made Ababil drones displayed in Abu Dhabi, which used by Houthi rebels Arab coalition forces. (AFP)

July 6, 2019

In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to the Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered their headlines with a story of drone attacks on Jizan airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

The report from Fars News says that the Yemeni armed forces, their 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 is 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.

The 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.

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 the Houthi 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 it was “virtually identical” to an Ababil-T drone made by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries. It can fly around 150km with a 45kg warhead. A survey of recent attacks on Saudi Arabia show 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 their attacks. Nine people were injured in July 1 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 a growing use of drones by Iran and its allies.

In February 2018 an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria. In addition the T-4 airbase in Syria on the road from Homs to Palmyra is reported to be an Iranian drone base. Iran used a drone last fall also to monitor in real-time its missile attack against dissidents in Koya in northern Iraq.

The Jerusalem Post

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.