Israeli PM prevented Saudi airspace due to Houthi missiles

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned he was deterred from flying to the United Arab Emirates via Saudi Arabian airspace final week due to the specter of missile hearth from Iranian proxies in Yemen.

Netanyahu, whose feedback got here Saturday, had referred to as off a go to to the Emirates final week over a spat with neighboring Jordan, which had quickly closed its airspace to the Israeli prime minister’s flight.

However quite than bypass Jordanian airspace and take a extra southerly route throughout Saudi skies, Netanyahu informed Israel’s Channel 13 “there have been additionally issues per week in the past within the skies of Saudi Arabia,” referring to latest missile assaults by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Netanyahu didn’t elaborate, nor did he say his airplane was focused by the Iran-backed Houthis.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who management the capital and far of the nation’s north, have escalated their cross-border assaults on important Saudi infrastructure in latest weeks, crashing bomb-laden drones and missiles into the dominion’s Patriot missile batteries and revealing gaps within the nation’s defenses.

Final week, missiles and drones hit one of many world’s largest oil transport ports and halted air visitors towards the worldwide airport within the port metropolis of Jiddah. Whereas Houthi-claimed assaults on Saudi Arabia not often trigger substantial harm, such strikes have roiled the world financial system and lift the danger of a disruption in international oil provides.

Netanyahu was slated to make the primary official go to by an Israeli chief to the United Arab Emirates, half a 12 months after the international locations established formal relations. He had hoped to make use of the viewers with the UAE’s crown prince to spice up his reelection marketing campaign lower than two weeks earlier than Israel’s March 23 parliamentary elections.

The Prime Minister’s Workplace mentioned it had difficulties coordinating the flight over Jordanian airspace after Jordan’s crown prince canceled a go to to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a delicate holy web site below Jordanian custodianship, as a consequence of disagreements over safety preparations.

The prime minister insisted that relations between the 2 international locations have been constructive, including that “Jordan wants good relations with us at least we’d like good relations with Jordan.”

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