Saudi Arabia is feared to have come under a second attack in just a few days after a loud explosion was heard over its capital city Riyadh. The country is now facing a “complex security challenge” as missile capabilities in Iraq become more advanced, an analyst has warned.
Witnesses said yesterday they heard two ‘loud bangs’ at around 1pm local time, as well as a cloud of smoke above the city, according to Reuters.
Reports have attributed the cause to a missile interception of some kind, and Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV has claimed there are videos on social media which show this taking place.
Torbjorn Soltvedt from risk consultancy group Verisk Maplecroft told The Times: “There is little doubt that Saudi Arabia is facing an increasingly complex security challenge.
“Riyadh is acutely aware that ties between Iran and many of the Iraq-based Shia militias are more established than they are with the Houthis.”
The analyst also warned Iraq has seen a “significant build-up of missile capabilities” overseen by the Revolutionary Guard.
The incident on Tuesday came just a few days after a Saudi-led military group claimed it had intercepted an “enemy air target” which also was headed towards Riyadh.
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Tuesday’s blast came a day after the UK, Germany, and France issued a joint statement condemning the recent attacks.
The nations said: “The E3 – France, Germany and the UK – strongly condemn the attempted aerial attacks on Riyadh on 23 January 2021.
In addition Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the attacks “threatened loss of life” and called them “deeply concerning”.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, has said there is “plenty of alignment” between the US and Saudi Arabia under new president Joe Biden.
Prince Faisal told ITV this week: “I think he should do what he has said he intends to do, which is make sure that Iran does not get access to nuclear weapons.”