Saudi Aramco oil storage facility hit by Houthi attack, sparking fire
Yemen’s Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Saudi-led coalition said oil giant Aramco’s petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was hit, sparking fires in two storage tanks, but no casualties. A huge plume of black smoke could be seen rising over the Red Sea city where the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is taking place this weekend, an eyewitness said.
The coalition’s statement on state media said the fire had been brought under control. Flames could still be seen in live footage broadcast by Saudi TV channel Ekhbariya. Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said the kingdom strongly condemns “sabotage attacks”, reiterating that it will not be responsible for disruptions to the world’s oil supply resulting from such attacks, the news agency reported. of State SPA, citing a ministry official.
The ministry blamed Iran for continuing to arm the Houthis with ballistic missiles and advanced drones, stressing that the attacks “would impact the Kingdom’s production capacity and its ability to meet its obligations to global markets”. . Tehran denies arming the Houthis. There was no immediate comment from Aramco.
The attacks took place as Jeddah hosted the Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Dense black smoke was visible from the racing circuit, a Reuters witness said. Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has told drivers and team bosses the Grand Prix will go ahead as planned, according to a source familiar with the matter.
‘VITAL FACILITIES’ The Iran-aligned Houthis fighting the Saudi-led coalition have stepped up attacks on energy facilities in the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group on Friday launched missiles at Aramco facilities in Jeddah and drones at Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries, and said it also targeted “facilities life” in Riyadh, the capital. Saudi state media earlier said the coalition foiled a series of Houthi drone and rocket attacks. Saudi air defenses also destroyed a ballistic missile launched towards Jizan, which caused a “limited” fire at an electricity distribution plant.
The Houthi escalation comes as the UN special envoy tries to secure a temporary truce for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which begins in April, and before Riyadh hosts Yemeni parties for consultations later this this month. Washington condemned the attacks on its ally Saudi Arabia and said it would continue to work with Riyadh to strengthen its defenses while working for a lasting resolution to the conflict in Yemen.
“The attacks are unacceptable and have also affected Saudi infrastructure as well as schools, mosques and workplaces” and endangered civilians, including U.S. citizens, the State Department’s deputy spokeswoman said. Jalina Porter to reporters on a conference call. Last weekend, a Houthi assault on the kingdom caused a temporary drop in production at a refinery and a fire at a petroleum products distribution terminal. On March 11, the group targeted a refinery in Riyadh, causing a small fire.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014. The conflict, widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the Iran, killed tens of thousands of people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)