According to the report, the drones, which were identified as “Shahed-136,” were deployed in the northern province of al-Jawf. The province is located right on the border with Saudi Arabia.
— 𝕋om 𝕆’ℂonnor (@ShaolinTom) January 14, 2021
“They are forward deploying or prepositioning these drones in order to stage an attack against a variety of targets they have within range,” the expert told Newsweek. “What they’re trying to achieve is plausible deniability, as in being able to strike either a US, Saudi, Gulf, or Israeli target and then having the strike traced back to Yemen, and hoping for deniably against any kind of retribution.”
Similar suicide drones were used by the Houthis in Yemen before. Nevertheless, this specific model, “Shahed-136,” has not been spotted in Iran, yet.
In the last few months, the Houthis stepped up their drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen. The group said the strikes were a response to the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and its siege on Yemen.
- The Liaison and Coordination Officers’ Operations Room (loyal to Ansar Allah) reported 143 ceasefire violations in al-Hudaydah during the past 24 hours.
- On January 13, Saudi-led coalition warplanes conducted 4 airstrikes on the Zahir area.
- On January 13, Saudi-led coalition warplanes conducted airstrikes on Jabal Murad district.
- On January 13, Saudi-led forces captured the Oshal area in the Rahabh district.
- On January 13, the Saudi military committee in charge of monitoring the ceasefire in Abyan province left the city of al-Shuqra.
Newsweek’s report highlights Iran’s growing support for the Houthis. Iran’s support has been enabling the Houthis to take a stand against the Saudi-led coalition. At the same time, it allowed Tehran to mount serious pressure on US allies in the Arabian Peninsula.