Obscure Iranian-backed faction claimed responsibility for strike at royal palace in Riyadh on January 23
Iranian-backed militias launched bomb-laden drones at a Saudi royal palace from Iraq during a recent attack, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday.
The AP cited two sources, Iraqi and American, as confirming the earlier accounts that the drones that hit a royal palace in Riyadh on January 23 had been launched from Iraqi territories near its borders with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia often finds itself repelling drone and missile attacks from the Houthi rebels in Yemen, an Iranian-backed proxy Riyadh had been fighting since 2015.
However, the Houthis did not claim responsibility for the January 23 strike.
Instead, it was claimed by Awliya Wa’ad al-Haq, which is Arabic for “The True Promise Brigades,” - a relatively obscure faction among Iraq's Iran-backed militias.
The incident makes for the first case when Iraqi militias have claimed an attack on Saudi Arabia, purportedly in retaliation for an Islamic State-claimed bombing in Baghdad on January 21.
It also indicates the difficulties that Iraq is facing in reigning in the militias, which are technically supposed to be integrated into its overall chain of command.
Previously, Iran-based factions also launched multiple attacks on US interests in the country, drawing Washington's fury.