Saudis say Iran instigated Gaza war to sabotage Israel normalization

“Iran is a nation that endorses terrorism, and the world should have curtailed it much earlier,” a member of the royal family told Hebrew media.

By Joshua Marks | | Topics: Iran, Gaza, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (second from left) at a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris, June 16, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (second from left) at a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris, June 16, 2023. Source: Twitter.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of instigating the conflict in Gaza to undermine progress in reaching a normalization agreement between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

In an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan News on Sunday, a source from the royal family also said that Tehran promotes terrorism and suggested that Riyadh played a role in thwarting Saturday night’s drone and missile attack against Israel by the Islamic Republic and its proxies.

Notably, a recap of the interview is published prominently on the House of Saud website, which covers the royal family.

“Iran is a nation that endorses terrorism, and the world should have curtailed it much earlier,” the Saudi royal said.

In its first-ever direct attack against the Jewish state, Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles on Saturday night, with the vast majority of them intercepted by Israel and allied militaries. The Kan interview appears to be the first Saudi acknowledgement that it helped fend off the attack, along with the United States, United Kingdom, Jordan and France.

The Iranian attack was in response to an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus earlier this month that killed a top Quds Force commander.

In what the article describes as a “subtle” acknowledgment, the source told Kan News that the Saudi air defenses automatically intercept “any suspicious entity” that enters its airspace, which could be in reference to attacks from Iran’s terror proxy the Houthis in Yemen.

“We confront every suspicious object that enters Saudi airspace. This is a matter of sovereignty,” the source said.

On Oct. 7, Hamas led a mass invasion of southern Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, wounding thousands more and kidnapping some 250 others, of which more than one hundred remain in captivity.

Riyadh put US-brokered Israeli normalization talks on ice after the Oct. 7 massacre and amid the ensuing war, but has maintained that a potential deal is still on the table.