Fact-check: Saudi Arabia has not approved deployment of US air defense systems to defend Israel
Islamabad: Millions of people have seen a post on X, formerly Twitter, claiming that Saudi Arabia has agreed to deployment of US air defense systems on its soil to defend Israel.
The news was attributed to Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.
The fake report was widely circulated online. Even Fatima Bhutto, the granddaughter of former Pakistani prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, shared while criticizing Saudi Arabia.
The viral post read:
“SAUDI DEFENSE MINISTER STATEMENT
Saudi Arabia has approved the deployment of U.S. air defense systems within its borders to safeguard Israel against external threats.
During discussions on the Middle East situation, it was decided that additional air defense systems would be stationed in Saudi Arabia, as missiles originating from Yemen and targeting Israel pass over Saudi territory.”
It came after U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday met with Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud and confirmed President Joe Biden’s commitment to support the defense of U.S. partners against threats from state and non-state actors, including those backed by Iran.
But the Saudi Defense Minister did not make any statement regarding the deployment of the air defense systems.
US remover its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries in Saudi Arabia in 2021 at a time when the kingdom was being attacked by missiles launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
According to the US media, Saudi Arabia maintains its own Patriot missile batteries and typically fires two missiles at an incoming target.