Reliable information about what exploded today, January 26, in the Saudi Arabian capital is still missing. Residents of Riyadh are sharing reports on social media of two loud bangs and a small plume of smoke over the capital at about 1 p.m. local time (the same time as Moscow).
Al Arabiya TV channel, which is distinguished for its prompt reporting of all major incidents in the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf, merely quoted local reports of the explosions circulating on social media, supposedly showing a missile intercept over Riyadh.
There was no comment from the Saudi authorities or any claim of responsibility for the alleged air attack.
Al Jazeera TV, reporting on the explosions, recalls that it came three days after Riyadh was attacked by drones.
The Saudi capital has been attacked most frequently in recent years with drone strikes and ballistic missiles by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Shiite insurgency Ansar Allah (Helpers of Allah, Houthis), Reuters noted Tuesday.
Rocket attacks claimed by the Yemeni Houthis have also targeted civilian airports and energy infrastructure across the kingdom, as far east as its eastern oil-producing regions.
Late last week, reports emerged of a drone airstrike on Riyadh, for which the pro-Iranian paramilitary group Al-Wada Al-Haq Brigades (Righteous Promise) operating in Iraq claimed responsibility. On January 23, the group issued a statement saying that Riyadh was attacked in retaliation for the blood of the martyrs of the recent attacks in Baghdad. Saudi authorities, for their part, said they had destroyed a hostile target over the kingdom’s capital that day.
Recall, the aerial attack on the Saudi Aramco oil company facilities, which on September 14, 2019, according to the remaining as the main version, was carried out by Yemeni Hussein rebels, led to the reduction of oil production in the largest Arab monarchy almost by half. Saudi Aramco was forced to cut production by 5.7 million barrels a day after the attack, which is more than half of the daily production of the kingdom. The strikes disrupted not only oil production but also Saudi exports of raw materials. About ten drones were involved in the attack on oil facilities in the areas of Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields, as well as oil refineries in eastern Saudi Arabia located near them. Later there was information that the refineries could have been attacked also by cruise missiles. The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attacks. Tehran categorically denies its involvement in the air attack, but the Saudis insist on their own version, calling the evidence of the “Iranian attack” not otherwise than “irrefutable”.