Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Explosions over Riyadh as CENTCOM commander visits area

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Jan 26, 2021

Two explosions have been heard over Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Tuesday afternoon, Reuters reported. Video circulated on social media exhibiting puffs of smoke suspended within the sky over town round 1 p.m. native time.

The explanation for the blasts was not instantly recognized. BBC Arabic cited witnesses as saying Saudi air defenses have been activated.

Flights out of Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport have been delayed following the incident, which got here simply three days after the Saudi navy stated it had intercepted a hostile projectile launched towards the capital in an assault for which Yemen’s Houthi rebels denied duty.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched missiles and armed drones into Saudi Arabia, whose authorities leads a navy coalition in opposition to the rebels in neighboring Yemen’s civil conflict. A number of of the projectiles have been shot down after reaching so far as Riyadh.

In 2019, a barrage of cruise missiles and drones slammed into two Saudi oil services, briefly setting again Saudi petroleum manufacturing. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later stated the projectiles utilized in that assault gave the impression to be of Iranian origin.

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So far, no group has publicly claimed duty for Tuesday’s incident, which got here because the commander of all US forces within the Middle East visited the area on his first journey overseas beneath the newly sworn-in administration of President Joe Biden.

CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie was in Saudi Arabia’s western port metropolis of Yanbu on Monday because the US navy explores entry to websites on the dominion’s Red Sea coast for logistics and contingency operations.

A spokesperson for US Central Command didn’t reply to Al-Monitor’s inquiry as to McKenzie’s whereabouts by publication time.

The Biden administration has initiated a evaluation of the terrorist designation utilized to the Houthis by the earlier administration of Donald Trump, CNN reported Friday. On Monday the Treasury Department lifted restrictions on monetary transactions with the Houthi group and corporations and organizations it owns, however not on transactions with the rebels’ sanctioned leaders.

The evaluation got here after rights teams objected that the Trump administration’s terror designation for the Houthis would severely hamper humanitarian assist deliveries to civilians affected by Yemen’s civil conflict.

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