SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Explosive-laden drones targeted Saudi Arabia’s royal palace in Riyadh last month were launched from inside Iraq, according to AP.
AP cited a senior Iran-backed militia official in Baghdad as saying that three drones were launched from Iraqi-Saudi border areas by a relatively unknown Iran-backed faction in Iraq.
The drones crashed into the Royal complex in Riyadh on January 23, exacerbating regional tensions, the Iraqi militia official told AP this week.
Attacks on Saudi capital have been sporadic amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The Iran-aligned rebels denied it had carried out the attack which targeted Saudi Arabia’s Yamama Palace on January 23.
The drones came “in parts from Iran and were assembled in Iraq, and were launched from Iraq,” the Iraqi official told AP.
He spoke under condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the attack, according to the Associated Press.
A little-known group called Awliya Wa’ad al-Haq, or “The True Promise Brigades,” that circulated social media, calling the attack retaliation for a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Baghdad on January 21.
The news agency cited a U.S. official as saying that the United States believes the Jan. 23 attack on Saudi Arabia’s royal palace was launched from inside Iraq.
An Iraqi official also told AP that the U.S. intelligence was shared with Iraq’s government.
The attack comes as Iraq seeks to deepen economic ties with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies over a variety of investment projects.
Iraqi President Barham Salih visited the United Arab Emirates and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein paid a visit to Saudi Arabia this week, apparently to discuss the attack, AP reported.