HSE & Sustainability

Yemeni Rebel Attack Sets Saudi Oil Facility Ablaze

Saudi officials accused Yemen’s Houthi rebels of launching the attack, which cast a shadow over a Formula One car race aimed at international spectators.

A cloud of smoke rises from a burning oil depot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 25 March.<br/><br/>
Source: Hassan Ammar/The Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon — An attack on an oil storage facility in Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels in Yemen on 25 March ignited a huge fire that filled the sky over the port city of Jeddah with black smoke on the first day of a Formula One car race aimed at drawing international spectators.

A spokesman for the Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen called the strike an “aggressive escalation” aimed at disrupting oil markets and hurting the world economy.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had also targeted other oil facilities across Saudi Arabia with drones and cruise missiles.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run news media reported some of those attempts, but only the attack in Jeddah appeared to have caused significant damage.

The attacks were the latest attempt by the Houthis to inflict economic damage on Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, after 7 years of grinding war in neighboring Yemen.

The Houthis, who have received military and financial aid from Iran, the Saudis’ regional nemesis, seized Yemen’s capital, Sana, in 2014, sending the Yemeni government into exile and spurring a military intervention by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries aimed at restoring the Yemeni government.

Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition, said the attack had hit a fuel distribution station belonging to Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state oil monopoly, in Jeddah.

The attack set on fire two storage tanks, General al-Maliki said, adding that no one had been hurt and that the blazes had been brought under control.

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