Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim attacks on Saudi oil facilities

The Yemeni group claimed to have targeted Aramco’s refineries in the coastal cities of Jeddah and Jubail but Saudi Arabia has yet to confirm.

Aramco's refinery in Jeddah was decommissioned in 2017 but it has a petroleum products distribution plant there that the Houthis have previously targeted [File: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Yemen’s Houthis claim to have launched drone attacks against Saudi Arabian energy giant Aramco’s facilities, amid a surge in fighting between the rebels and forces loyal to the Riyadh-backed government in Yemen.

Neither Aramco nor Saudi authorities immediately confirmed the attack.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement on Monday carried by the pro-rebel Al Masirah television that the attacks took place overnight, in retaliation for the six-year military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

He said the Houthis had targeted Aramco refineries in the western Saudi city of Jeddah and in Jubail in the east, with 10 drones launched at dawn.

He also said the Houthis hit “sensitive military areas” in the southern cities of Khamis Mushait and Jizan, with five drones and two ballistic missiles.

On Sunday, the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed Houthi drones targeting Khamis Mushait and Jizan.

The Iran-aligned rebels have struck Aramco facilities in the past, underscoring the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s expensive and strategically vital oil infrastructure.

Last November, the rebels hit an Aramco plant in Jeddah with a Quds-2 missile, tearing a hole in an oil tank and triggering an explosion and fire, the company said.

The rebels’ latest claim comes a day after at least 70 pro-government and Houthi fighters were killed in fierce fighting for Yemen’s strategic northern city of Marib.

The Houthis have been trying to seize Marib, the capital of an oil-rich region and the Saudi-backed government’s last significant pocket of territory in the north since February.

Yemen’s civil war pits the Iran-backed rebels against an internationally recognised government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition.

Rights groups and humanitarian agencies have blamed both sides for the peoples’ misery, but Riyadh has been particularly criticised for its devastating military intervention that has lasted more than six years and killed tens of thousands and pushed the Arabian Peninsula nation to the brink of famine.

Source: News Agencies