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Saudi Coalition Targets Houthis In Yemen In Response To Oil Pipeline Attack

The Saudi-led coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Thursday, targeting bases of the Iran-aligned Houthis after the Houthis claimed responsibility for the drone attacks on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are 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.

Two pumping stations along Aramco’s East-West oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia were attacked by explosive-laden drones in the early morning local time on Tuesday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who described the attack as one of “terrorism and sabotage.”

“These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran,” al-Falih said on Tuesday.

This statement came out hours after Houthi-owned TV Almasirah reported that “7 Drones have targeted vital Saudi facilities.”

Reports of the drone attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil infrastructure came a day after Saudi Arabia said that two of its oil tankers were attacked by saboteurs near the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the UAE said that a total four vessels were attacked off its coast at the port of Fujairah

According to the Houthi-owned Almasirah news outlet, Thursday’s air strikes on Sanaa killed six people, including four children, and wounded 52 others.

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The Saudi Press Agency said that the Saudi-led coalition carried out “air operations on a number of legitimate military targets; which military intelligence confirmed are military bases and facilities used by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias for weapons and ammunition storage.”

“The Coalition stressed that the attacks by the Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militias on vital facilities in the Kingdom are a violation of International Humanitarian Law and its customs, and amount to war crimes,” the Saudi agency reports.

On Thursday, Saudi Vice Minister of Defense, Khalid bin Salman, said on Twitter:

“The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the two Aramco pumping stations proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran's regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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