Houthis attack Aramco facilities


Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement fired rocket and drone strikes at Saudi targets including Aramco oil facilities, the group’s first claim of attacks since it offered to stop four months ago.

Few details were given of the precise nature and timing and there was no immediate confirmation from the Saudi authorities of any strikes.

In comments reported by Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said more than 15 “operations” were carried out in the past week in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for an escalation in air strikes.

Saudi Aramco facilities in Jizan on the Red Sea were targeted, along with targets near the Yemen border, including Abha and Jizan airports and Khamis Mushait military base, “with a large number of rockets and drones”, he said in a separate statement.

State oil giant Aramco declined to comment on the report.

The Houthis are battling a Saudi-led military coalition. If confirmed, the attacks would be the first by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia since September, when the group said it would halt missile and drone attacks if the coalition ended air strikes on Yemen.

Oil prices were higher after the reports.

The Houthis had made their offer to halt strikes on Saudi targets last year after claiming responsibility for a September attack on Saudi oil facilities that initially halved the kingdom’s output. Riyadh rejected the Houthi claim of responsibility and blamed Iran, which denied it.

After a lull in hostilities recently, violence escalated at a frontline east of Yemen’s Houthi-held capital Sanaa, since a January 19 missile attack on a government military camp which killed more than 100 people.

United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths condemned the uptick in troop movements, air strikes and missile and drone attacks, saying they jeopardise progress made on de-escalation and confidence building.

Moammar al-Eryani, the information minister for the Saudi-backed internationally recognised Yemeni government, said the Houthi attack claims were a “declaration of the death of the political process in Yemen”.

Yemen has been mired in five years of conflict since the Houthi movement ousted the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital in 2014. The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 to restore him.

The United Nations is trying to re-launch political negotiations to end the war and, separately, Riyadh is holding informal talks with the Houthis about de-escalation.