In denial: Saudi Arabia refutes reports of aiding US drone war in Yemen

Published January 6th, 2013 - 07:22 GMT
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Saudi Arabia has denied reports that its air force used fighter jets to bomb targets in Yemen.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Saturday the country’s jets had not targeted Al Qaeda in Yemen as part of the U.S.-led covert war.

Britain's Times newspaper on Friday cited an anonymous U.S. intelligence source as saying "some of the so-called drone missions are actually Saudi Air Force missions".

Saudi Arabia views militants linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular - some of whom are Saudi nationals - as the greatest threat to the stability of the world’s primary oil producer.

The revelations on Saturday would not be the first time the Saudi Air Force had been deployed in Yemen and risk inflaming the relationship between the two countries, and complicating ties with the complex web of tribal groups who control vast swaths of the country.

In 2009, Saudi troops and fighter jets were used in Yemen’s offensive against the Houthi clan in northern Yemen.

The U.S. also carries out drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

An ongoing investigation by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that while drone strikes had significantly decreased in Pakistan in 2012, they had risen sharply in Yemen.


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