Sunday, March 3, 2024

Yemen's Houthis claim drone attack on refinery in Saudi capital

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Yemen's Houthi group claimed a drone attack on a refinery in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Thursday morning, which Saudi state media said did not affect petroleum supplies.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement targeted a Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) refinery in Riyadh using three Samad-3 drones, its military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Friday. Six Samad-1 drones were also fired at Aramco facilities in the Saudi cities of Jizan and Abha.

The attack caused a small fire in Riyadh that was controlled and did not result in any injuries or casualties, Saudi state news agency SPA reported early on Friday, citing an energy ministry official.

Read more: Yemen rebels threaten to 'expand operation' after UAE attack

"The refinery's operations and supplies of petroleum and its derivatives were not affected," the statement said.

It did not specify where the attack originated from.

The world's top oil exporter has faced frequent missile and drone assaults by Yemen's Houthis which have been battling a coalition led by Riyadh for seven years.

"These repeated acts of sabotage and terrorism on vital installations and civilian structures … do not just target the Kingdom but aim to undermine the security and stability of global energy supplies," the energy ministry statement said.

Sarea said the attacks were carried out in response to the coalition blocking the entry of fuel into Houthi territory, where ongoing fuel shortages are getting worse.

Also read: Saudi-led coalition starts operation in Yemen to 'paralyse Houthis capabilities'

Air and sea access to Yemen is controlled by the coalition which says restrictions are needed to prevent arms smuggling.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming the Houthis and has blamed Tehran for past attacks including a 2019 strike on oil plants. Tehran denies doing so.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sanaa. The group says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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