Riyadh: Last Friday, a drone attacked an oil refinery in Riyadh, and the Hussite rebels in Yemen claimed to have launched the attack. Iran-backed insurgents have made significant progress in the troubled city of Malibu, Yemen.
The attack at dawn on the refinery is the second major assault this month on Saudi energy installations, highlighting an escalation of Yemen s six-year conflict between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Iran-linked Huthis.
“The Riyadh oil refinery was attacked by drones, resulting in a fire that has been brought under control,” the Saudi energy ministry said in a statement, adding that no casualties were reported and oil supplies were not disrupted.
Strongly condemning the “cowardly attack”, the ministry said the drone strikes were not just an assault on the kingdom but the world economy and global energy security.
In a statement, the Huthi rebels claimed to have targeted Riyadh’s energy giant Aramco with six drones in response to the “brutal aggression” of the Saudi-backed Yemen military alliance.
Although US President Joe Biden once again pushed for the resumption of the deadlocked peace talks, the insurgents are still stepping up their cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.
The United States condemned the drone attack as an attempt to “damage the energy supply by targeting Saudi infrastructure.”
“This behaviour shows an utter lack of concern for the safety of the civilian population either working or living near the sites,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters, adding the US was “deeply concerned by the frequency of attacks on Saudi Arabia”.
The latest assault comes after Saudi Arabia earlier this month said it thwarted a missile and drone attack on Ras Tanura — one of the world s biggest oil ports — and Aramco facilities in Dhahran city in the kingdom s east. It reported no casualties or damage.
Friday s attack coincides with major Huthi advances on Marib city after the rebels took a strategic mountain in clashes that caused dozens of casualties on both sides, according to Yemeni government sources.
A source told Agence France-Presse that the Hussites “taken control of Mount Hiran overlooking the city after dozens of deaths and injuries to both sides after the battle.”
“Marib is in danger,” another source said, adding that the loss of the mountain posed “a threat to Marib s first line of defence”.