RIYADH (Dispatches) – After failing to defeat Yemeni forces in the years-long war, Saudi Arabia will receive a Patriot missile battery from Greece to defend itself against retaliatory attacks from its southern neighbor, officials said on Tuesday.
Greek officials said that the surface-to-air system would help defend against increasing reprisals by the Yemeni forces against critical energy infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia, a top crude exporter which started its offensive against Yemen in 2015, relies heavily on U.S.-made Patriots to intercept missiles and drones fired at the kingdom on a near-daily basis by Yemeni forces.
"We signed the agreement to transfer a Patriot battery here in Saudi Arabia,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a statement during a visit to Riyadh with Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos.
In a separate statement, Panagiotopoulos said the Patriot would be "deployed in the coming period and operate on Saudi Arabian soil... to protect critical energy infrastructure from terrorist threats”.
The announcement comes after the United States declared in May last year that it was pulling out four of its Patriots from Saudi Arabia.
It also came the day the Yemeni army carried out a successful drone attack against a "military site” within the Abha International Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, keeping up the impoverished country’s retaliation against a Riyadh-led war.
The reprisal against the terminal that lies in the kingdom’s Asir region took place by one of the Yemeni armed forces’ indigenously-manufactured Qasef-2K UAVs, army spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a brief statement.
"The hit was accurate,” Saree noted in the statement that was reported by Yemen’s al-Masirah television network. "This targeting comes in response to the escalation of aggression and the ongoing siege on our dear country.”
The Saudi kingdom and its allies have been waging the war for more than seven years in an attempt to restore Yemen’s former Riyadh-allied officials.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis have perished during the aggression that has been accompanied by a crippling siege of the Arab world’s already poorest nation.