Reportedly, the director of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate paid a surprise and quiet visit to Israel this week. According to the Israeli intelligence news service, DEBKAfile, Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan made his way to Jerusalem and Ramallah in the last two days.
Ramallah is the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. Neither Israel nor the PA have confirmed al-Humaidan's visit.
What motived him to come?
As reported last week in DEBKA's subscription-only Weekly magazine, military engineers in Irans have been working round the clock on a project dubbed Riyadh First. Its objective is to add an extra 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the intermediate range of Tehran's Scud-C and Scud-D surface missiles.
The extra range will enable these missiles to reach the heart of Riyadh, capital city of Saudi Arabia.
The Iranian project is going forward at its secret Al Ghadi base, 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Tehran. The guesstimated location of the base is here. The project's commission came from the top, ordered by Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the country's president, Hassan Rouhani.
It is this plan was behind the threat made by IRGC Air Force Commander General Amir Ali Hajizadeh last Saturday, 11 February.
At the start of a military exercise, he announced, “Should the enemy make a mistake, our roaring missiles will rain down on them,” he said.
General Hajizadeh, who is in charge of the missile testing site, has ordered all other work halted in order to concentrate on the fast-track “Riyadh First” Scud development project.
On 4 February, Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthis fired a missile which they claimed was a homemade Borkan with a range of 800 kilometers (497 miles) into Saudi Arabia. It struck the al-Muzahimiyah military camp west of Riyadh.
According to DEBKA's military sources, the Houthis don’t possess a missile of that range.
Their attack was, in fact, the first test of the newly-extended Iranian Scud.
It was Iran's dress rehearsal for a real strike against Saudi Arabia.
If the visit is confirmed, what were al-Humaidan's objectives?
There are two.
First, in Ramallah, he will have warned the Palestinians not to go through with their bid to strengthen direct ties with Tehran as reported last week. A first meeting of Iranian and Palestinian delegations has already taken place in Brussels.
Secondly, in Jerusalem, he likely explored security issues related to the US-Israeli-Arab regional conference proposed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they met in Washington on 15 February.
Notably, the Saudi spy chief is a professional soldier and the first commoner to hold the post of Director of Saudi General Intelligence. Among his predecessors were high-ranking princes such as Bandar Bin Sultan, Turki Bin Faisal and Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz.