Saudi Arabia to buy new U.S. planes to help defend its oilfields

Saudi Arabia will buy new fighter jets and fighter-bombers, a senior Saudi military official said on Friday, amid growing tensions with the United States over its military campaign in Yemen.

The announcement came as the United Arab Emirates also said it would buy two fighter jets.

The Saudi military, which is also known as the National Guard, has stepped up attacks on Yemen’s civilian government since the Saudi-led coalition launched its campaign against Iran-allied Houthi rebels in March 2015.

A Saudi-owned television station said on Wednesday it was working with a U.N.-backed group to create an air defense zone in Yemen’s south, an effort that has so far failed.

The United States and several other nations have backed the Saudi campaign, saying it is needed to counter Iranian-allies.

The Saudis say it is a military campaign designed to stop the Houthis, who are allied to Iran.

The Houthis reject the claims and have warned that they will respond if they are attacked.