Purported new militant group claims drone attack against Saudi Arabia

A newly formed militant group calling itself the “Righteous Promise Brigades” published a statement claiming responsibility for a drone attack against Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The assault was in response to a double suicide bombing carried out by ISIS at a Baghdad market on Thursday.

“After the Gulf Arab persisted in their crimes against the peoples of the region, and continued to support ISIS criminal gangs and takfiri groups that infiltrated the blood of innocent people, here are the sons of the Arabia who fulfill their promise and send terror drones to the Kingdom of Saud,” the statement said.

The author also suggests more strikes are forthcoming against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The next blow will be on the dens of evil in Dubai, with the help of the Almighty if the crimes of Bin Salman and Bin Zayed are repeated,” the statement stated.

The statement echoes a similar claim made by Hezbollah that the “Wahabi-ISIS organization” orchestrated the market attack despite lacking evidence showing a link between the two and the bombing in Baghdad.

Possible link to Iranian-backed militia groups

The formation of the group follows a similar pattern of Iraqi-based front groups created by established militias used to assault American-led coalition troops in Iraq.

Adding to the possibility of a link between Iraqi-based militias and the newly formed group was a recent message published by Abu Ali al-Askari, a senior leader of the Iraqi Kata’ib Hezbollah Brigades, in which he lauded the operation and called for more strikes against Saudi Arabia.

“We hail the Righteous Promise Brigades and we congratulate them on their targeting of Bin Salman’s den, and we also recommend to the mujahideen brothers in Iraq and elsewhere in the region to follow this methodology,” al-Askari’s statement said.

It is reasonable to believe that Iranian-backed militia groups that have been battling a surge of ISIS activity in Iraq since the summer of 2020 are attempting to deflect the blame for their failure to stop the bombings by placing the blame on a “Saudi-American-Zionist” conspiracy – a common theme in statements made by members of the Axis of Resistance.

Apart from claims on pro-Axis of Resistance channels, there isn’t conclusive evidence that the “Righteous Promise Brigades” is an Iraqi-based front group. Nevertheless, if ISIS is able to successfully create further instability inside Iraq with audacious attacks such as the suicide bombings on Thursday, the possibility of further military operations against Saudi Arabia and the UAE are likely to continue.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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