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The Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed they have struck an Aramco facility in Jeddah in a missile attack, Russia’s Sputnik reports, citing a statement by the rebel group. The Associated Press later also reported the attack.
“The missile forces managed today to strike [a facility] of the Saudi Aramco company in Jeddah with a Quds 2 cruise missile. The strike was precise,” a spokesman said.
The news comes just days after Saudi Arabia said it had intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile over the capital, Riyadh. The Saudi side has yet to confirm or deny the attack.
The Houthis last targeted Saudi oil facilities last November. The group—which the outgoing U.S. administration in January designated as a terrorist group—said they had hit a distribution center property of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company. The group also warned that “operations will continue,” advising foreign companies and residents of Saudi Arabia to be cautious.
The report came in late November, a week after Saudi Arabia said it had thwarted a Houthi attack on an oil products terminal near the border between the Kingdom and Yemen. The Saudi side confirmed the hit.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been essentially fighting a proxy war in Yemen, where the Saudis lead a military Arab coalition to “restore legitimacy” in the country, while the Houthi movement, which holds the capital Sanaa, is backed by Iran.
The Houthi rebels have often claimed they have hit oil infrastructure assets in Saudi Arabia and have taken responsibility for several high-profile attacks in the region.
The most notable attack that the Yemeni rebel group claimed responsibility for was the September 2019 attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities that cut off 5 percent of daily global supply for weeks, sending oil prices soaring. But Saudi Arabia and the United States have said that it was Iran—and not the Houthis—who was responsible for the attack.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
And with the Biden administration threatening to sanction Saudi Arabia for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it won’t be too soon for Saudi Arabia not only to end the war in Yemen but also to build a bridge of trust with Iran and reach some rapprochement with it.
In so doing it would ensure the safety of its oil infrastructure and would also pre-empt against any US sanctions against it by undermining the United States policy towards Iran.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London