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Houthis Target Saudi Oil Tanker In Red Sea

The Iran-backed Shiite Houthis targeted a Saudi oil tanker on Wednesday, causing minimal damage, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The attack took place in international waters in the Red Sea, off Hodeidah port—the only port that the Houthis control.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition was quick to condemn the attack, adding that the it failed due to the actions of the coalition’s fleet.

The Arab coalition recently captured the Hodeidah airport, and now has its eyes on claiming the port for its own, a vital waterway for the Houthis.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran—a backer of the Houthi movement in Yemen—have intensified in recent months, manifesting in claims of ballistic missile firings and drone strikes at different targets in Saudi Arabia, including at Aramco facilities.

Today’s events are nothing new, and follow another reported attack one week ago today when the Houthi rebels claimed to have targeted an Aramco refinery in Riyadh with a long-range drone.

The Houthis targeted another oil tanker back in April, also sitting off the port of Hodeidah, also sustaining minor damage.

The Arab coalition asserts that the Houthis are using this Hodeidah port for terrorist operations as well as missile and weapons smuggling.

Related: Oil Jobs Under Threat From Drones

Houthi rebels have fired or claimed to have fired many missiles on Saudi Arabia since aligning with Iran in 2015, although they have caused minor damage, with many of the strikes successfully thwarted by the Saudi military, according to Saudi Arabia.

The unrest between Yemen and Saudi Arabia has significant ramifications for the oil industry. Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea, through which millions of barrels of crude oil pass every day as they make their way from the Suez Canal to Europe.

The Houthis threatened to block the critical shipping lane in January if Saudi Arabia continued to push towards Hodeidah.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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