Rebel Yemini forces are reported to have accelerated their missile attacks on Saudi targets over the weekend after an earlier Scud attack on a Saudi base claimed the life of the country’s air force chief.
The Iranian FARS news agency reported, “the Yemini (rebel) army and Ansarullah (Shia Houthi forces) fired 46 missiles at al-Ain al-Harrah, al-Khoubeh, al-Amoudeh and Al-Sauda military bases in southern Saudi Arabia yesterday without specifying if the missiles fired were Scuds.
An earlier report claimed that two Saudi military bases of Ain al-Harrah and Malhamah were attacked with 10 and 7 Scud missiles respectively on Tuesday in which Saudi Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Shaalan, the commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is said to have died.
Saudi Arabia has claimed that the air force commander died of a heart attack while on a “business trip outside the kingdom”. However, there is no mention of the country he flew to or any reports of him embarking on the trip. Iranian and some Arab media reported that the body of the Lt. General was not shown during the funeral as it was charred beyond recognition.
Patriot batteries intercepted a lone Scud missile which was fired from Yemen earlier this week, a Saudi government statement to local media claimed. The number of Patriot interceptors launched was not mentioned in the Saudi statement.
Yemini rebel forces, under relentless attack from Saudi Jets, are said to possess an unspecified number of Scud missiles of North Korean or Russian origin. Recent satellite imagery published in various media show the missile to be in mobile launchers.
The US government approved the sale of an advanced version of the Patriot to Saudi Arabia last year. A Raytheon statement had then said, “Raytheon received a $1.7 billion contract to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System to the latest Configuration-3. The award includes ground-system hardware, a full training package and support equipment upgrades.”