Saudi Arabia asked Gulf states to help replenish stockpile of Patriot missiles amid Houthi attacks: report
Saudi Arabia appealed to a number of Gulf states to help increase its stockpile of depleted stock of Patriot missiles in light of increased attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Financial Times has reported on Sunday.
"This is an urgent issue. Riyadh may receive interceptor missiles from a number of Gulf countries, and we are working on it. This option may be faster than direct sales from the United States," the paper quoted an unidentified senior US official as saying.
The Patriot – its proper name the MIM-104 Patriot - is a US-made surface-to-air missile system. Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies.
The same official was quoted as saying that Saudi Arabia’s missile stock could run out in “months” given the large number of attacks by the Houthi militia to the south in Yemen, which a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with since 2015.
Two people briefed on talks between Riyadh and its neighbouring states confirmed that the kingdom had made such requests.
"There is an interceptor shortage. Saudi Arabia has asked its friends for loans, but there are not many to be had," said one of the people.
Yemen's Houthi insurgents carried out twice as many attacks on Saudi territory from January to September last year as they did in the same time period of 2020, an American think tank said last month.
The Houthis have been aided by the Quds Force - a special operations and intelligence arm of Iran's military - and the Shia political party and militia in Lebanon, Hezbollah.
The war in Yemen years has created "the world's worst humanitarian crisis," the United Nations has said.
The UN had estimated that 377,000 people will have perished due to the conflict before 2021 is over.