Riyadh has put a $440 million bounty on the heads of 40 leaders of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, following an attempted missile strike on its international airport that the kingdom has blamed on the group’s Iranian patrons.
The individual rewards range from $5 million to $30 million, with the highest for help in capturing rebel leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, according to a government statement on PR Newswire.
The bounty offer escalates a regional showdown between Saudi Arabia and Iran that was heightened by the missile strike on Saturday, which was intercepted by the Saudi military. The fighting in Yemen, which Saudi Arabia joined in 2015 to restore ousted Yemen President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi to power, is just one of the conflicts in the Middle East pitting the two powers on opposing sides.
The Saudi government said the rewards were meant to help eradicate terrorism and to counter the “increased terrorist activity by the Houthi group and its continuous endeavor to harm the kingdom’s security with the support of the Iranian regime.”