CAIRO Nov 20 (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Huthi movement said on Saturday it had fired 14 drones at several Saudi Arabian cities, including at Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah.
The Saudi-led coalition battling the Huthis in Yemen had on Friday said it destroyed three drones launched towards southern Saudi Arabia and a fourth over Yemen. It said the group “failed to launch two ballistic missiles” and they fell inside Yemen.
Saudi Aramco, the state oil firm, said when contacted by Reuters that it would respond at the earliest opportunity.
The Huthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised press conference that the group had attacked Aramco’s refineries in Jeddah as well as military targets in Riyadh, Jeddah, Abha, Jizan and Najran.
Sarea’s statement contained inaccuracies. It mentioned the wrong name for the international airport in Jeddah and the wrong location for King Khalid base, saying it was in Riyadh when it is actually in the south of the kingdom.
The Saudi-led coalition said later on Saturday it has attacked 13 targets during a military operation against the Huthis in Yemen.
The operation hit weapons depots, air defence systems and drones’ communication systems in Sanaa, Saada, and Marib provinces, the coalition said.
Aramco’s refinery in Jeddah was decommissioned in 2017 but it has a petroleum products distribution plant there that the Huthis had previously targeted in March. read more
The Huthis have repeatedly launched cross border attacks on Saudi Arabia using drones and missiles since the coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the movement ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital, Sanaa.
Efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to engineer a ceasefire in Yemen have stalled.
The conflict, seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been in military stalemate for years. The Huthis are pressing an offensive in Marib, the internationally recognised government’s last northern stronghold, as well as in other areas in Yemen.
Reporting by Lilian Wagdy; additional reporting by Moaz Abd-Alaziz; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Heavens