Iran-backed Houthis Say Responsible for Attack on Saudi Energy Facilities

A raging fire erupted at an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jiddah, the same area that the Houthis attacked days earlier

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A cloud of smoke rises from a burning oil depot in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday.
A cloud of smoke rises from a burning oil depot in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday.Credit: Hassan Ammar /AP

Yemen's Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities Friday and the Saudi-led coalition said oil giant Aramco's petroleum products distribution station in Jiddah was hit, causing a fire 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 statement on state media said the fire had been brought under control. Flames could still be seen in live footage aired by the Saudi-owned television channel Ekhbariya.

The Saudi energy ministry said the kingdom strongly condemned the "sabotage attacks," reiterating that it would not bear responsibility for any global oil supply disruptions resulting from such attacks, state news agency SPA reported, citing an official at the ministry.

A cloud of smoke rises from a burning oil depot in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday.Credit: Hassan Ammar /AP

The ministry blamed Iran for continuing to arm the Houthis with ballistic missiles and advanced drones, stressing that the attacks "would lead to impacting the Kingdom's production capacity and its ability to fulfil its obligations to global markets."

Tehran denies that it arms the Houthis. There was no immediate comment from Aramco. The attacks came as Jiddah was hosting the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The dense black smoke could be seen from the race circuit, a Reuters witness said.

Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali told drivers and team bosses that the Grand Prix will go ahead as planned, according to a source familiar with the matter.

'Vital facilities'

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who are battling the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, have intensified attacks on energy facilities in the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group launched missiles Friday at Aramco's facilities in Jiddah and drones at the Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries, and said it had also targeted "vital facilities" in Riyadh, the capital.

Saudi state media earlier said that the coalition had foiled a string of Houthi drone and rocket attacks. Saudi air defenses also destroyed a ballistic missile launched toward 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 that starts in April, and ahead of Riyadh's hosting of Yemeni parties for consultations later 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 durable resolution to the conflict in Yemen.

"The attacks are unacceptable and have also affected Saudi infrastructure as well as schools, mosques and workplaces," while endangering civilians including U.S. citizens, State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters in a call.

Last weekend a Houthi assault on the kingdom caused a temporary drop in output 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 Iran, has killed tens of thousands and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage