Iran fired more than 20 drones and cruise missiles from the northern end of the Persian Gulf to cripple two Saudi Arabian oil plants over the weekend — and the kingdom’s air defenses were useless because they were pointed in a different direction, according to a senior U.S. official.
The official told CBS News on Tuesday that the locations from where the missiles were fired were in southern Iran.
But Saudi forces, the official said, have been aimed south for months, to protect against missiles coming from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.
Therefore, the Saudi weapons were “useless against the missiles and drones coming in from the north,” CBS reports.
One Iranian missile flew through Kuwait’s airspace, the official said, adding that the U.S. was working with several other countries to analyze data on the attack.
A U.S. team has identified the specific types of drones and cruise missiles fired from their work on the ground at the oil operations, CBS reports.
The wreckage was moved to a location outside Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where it will be used to make “a very compelling forensic case” that Tehran launched “a complex and coordinated attack” on Saudi Arabia, another U.S. official told CBS.
The forensic case against Iran will include reconstructed radar tracks that would show the cruise missiles and drones coming from Iran.
Aramco, the Saudi oil company targeted in Saturday’s attacks, said no workers were injured.
U.S. officials already have blamed Tehran for the assault, though President Donald Trump said Monday that it “looks” like Iran was behind the attack.
He stressed, however, that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key U.S. Mideast ally.