Yemen’s Houthi rebels fire ballistic missiles and drones at oil facilities and military sites in Saudi Arabia.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Sunday, attacking a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura in an assault the kingdom said was aimed at the security and stability of the global energy supply.
Announcing the attacks, the Houthis also said they attacked military targets in the Saudi cities of Dammam, Asir and Jazan.
The Saudi energy ministry said an oil storage yard at Ras Tanura, the site of an oil refinery and the world’s biggest offshore oil loading facility, was attacked with a drone but there were no casualties or property loss.
“One of the petroleum tank areas at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea,” the Saudi energy ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
It added that shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell near Aramco’s residential compound in Dhahran.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group fired 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles across the border with the kingdom in a “wide operation in the heart of Saudi Arabia”.
The United States mission in Saudi Arabia advised US citizens to take precautions after reports of possible attacks and explosion in the area of Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
The province is home to most of Saudi Aramco’s oil production and export facilities.
The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said that Saudi Arabia will take all necessary measures to protect itself, and to ensure the stability of energy supplies and maritime traffic.
The attacks on a petroleum tank farm at Ras Tanura port and on Aramco facilities in Dhahran were “cowardly terrorist attacks”, a defence ministry spokesman said in a statement on state news agency SPA.
The coalition said earlier on Sunday it intercepted 12 drones launched by the Houthis, including five that were fired towards the kingdom, and two ballistic missiles fired towards Jazan.
Separately, the coalition said it conducted air strikes on Houthi military targets in Sanaa and other regions and warned that “civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom are a red line”.
The Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said coalition warplanes launched “a series of air raids” on the al-Nahda and Attan districts in the capital, Sanaa.
The Houthis, who have been battling the coalition since it intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Last Thursday, the Houthi movement said it fired a missile at an Aramco petroleum products distribution plant in the Red Sea city of Jeddah which the Houthis had attacked in November 2020, hitting a storage tank. Aramco and Saudi authorities have not commented about Thursday’s claim.
The escalation comes as the United States and the United Nations increase diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire to pave the way for a resumption of UN-sponsored political talks to end the conflict.