Iranian missiles loaded on to boats in the Persian Gulf ‘were seen by US intelligence’ sparking warning of a ‘credible’ imminent attack in Middle East as Saudi Arabia directly blames Iran for ordering rebel drone strikes on oil pipeline
- Tensions rose across Middle East after US warned of ‘credible threat’ to its forces
- ‘Threat’ was pictures of Iranian missiles on boats in Persian Gulf, it is claimed
- Images sparked fears of attack on US ships, prompting embassy evacuations
- Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Qatar are scrambling to de-escalate the situation even as US deploys two carrier groups to the region
- But Riyadh today directly blamed Iran for ordering Yemen rebel drone strikes on its oil pipelines
Overhead images of fully-assembled Iranian missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf sparked fears they would be fired at US ships and prompted warnings of a ‘credible threat’ (pictured, USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group on May 8, on its way to Arabian Peninsula)
Fears that Iran was about to attack American targets in the Middle East were sparked by pictures of fully-assembled missiles loaded on to the back of boats in the Persian Gulf, it has been claimed.
Iranian paramilitary forces were seen loading the weapons on to small craft, amid concern that the Revolutionary Guards would fire them at US navy vessels.
Additional intelligence reported threats to commercial ships and potential attacks by Iranian-backed militias on American troops in Iraq, which, taken together, led the US to believe an attack was imminent.
American warnings of a ‘credible threat’ against its forces in the Middle East have sent tensions across the region soaring, as Arab nations including Saudi, UAE and Iran insisted they were ready for a war but didn’t want one.
Amid the mounting crisis in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia this morning directly blamed Iran for ordering drone attacks on its oil pipelines on Tuesday.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen had claimed responsibility for the attacks which saw explosive-laden drones hit two Aramco pumping stations.
Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister, Khalid bin Salman said Tuesday’s ‘proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region,’ the prince said on Twitter.
‘The terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis, are tightening the noose around the ongoing political efforts.’
The remarks threaten to further escalate tinderbox relations in the region.
Attacks by Houthi drones inside Saudi Arabia’s territory also shows a level of sophistication not previously seen in attacks of this kind, Al-Jazeera reported.
While Houthis have been using weaponised drones in attacks since at least last year, their range has been relatively limited.
However, the two pipelines attacked on Tuesday were 800m inside Saudi territory, meaning the Houthis likely had to use satellite technology to guide the drones to their targets – technology they were not previously known to possess.