Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed Israel’s “sorrow” to Saudi Arabia on Saturday following a wave of Yemen Houthi attacks, in a rare public message to the country with which it lacks formal ties.
“The State of Israel expresses its sorrow to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the horrific attack by the Iranian-backed Huthis,” Bennett wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, a wave of Houthi drone and missile attacks hit Saudi targets, including an oil plant that turned into an inferno near a Formula One race in Jeddah.
Bennett also reiterated Israel’s concerns that the US would remove its “terrorist group” designation of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as part of an agreement to restore a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
“This attack is further proof that Iran’s regional aggression knows no bounds & reinforces the concern of Iran’s IRGC being removed” from the terror list, he wrote on Twitter.
Bennett’s message came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel for landmark meetings with foreign ministers from the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco -- Arab countries that recently normalised relations with Israel -- and Egypt.
Taking place over two days in a southern desert resort, the rare meet is formally aimed at “promoting peace in the region”, but also reflects an alliance around shared regional concerns over Iran.
Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman indicated ties could warm with Israel -- once the Palestinian conflict is resolved.
“We don’t look at Israel as an enemy, we look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together,” the prince told The Atlantic, according to a transcript issued by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“But we have to solve some issues before we get to that,” he said.
“For us, we hope that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is solved.”
In 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, both Gulf allies of Saudi Arabia, normalised ties with the Jewish state, as did Morocco.
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