Saudi Aramco says customers unaffected by Houthi attack on Jeddah

Oil giant Saudi Aramco says customers were unaffected by an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a petroleum products distribution plant in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah.

One of the facility’s tanks was hit by a missile in early on Monday.

The attack knocked out 10 percent of all fuel that was stored at the plant, a Saudi Aramco official said on Tuesday, adding that the tank – one of 13 at the facility – is currently out of action.

The official described the site as a “critical facility” that distributes more than 120,000 barrels of products per day.

A fire caused by the attack was extinguished in about 40 minutes with no casualties, he said.

The attack was confirmed by a Saudi official who told the Saudi state news agency (SPA) it was a “terrorist attack with a projectile”.

The oil company’s production and export facilities are mostly in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province, more than 1,000km (621 miles) away from Jeddah, across the country.

Announcing the attack, a military spokesman for the Houthis warned that “operations will continue”.

Yahya Sarea said the attack was carried out with a Quds-2 type winged missile. He also posted a satellite image with the label: “North Jeddah bulk plant-Saudi Aramco”.

“The strike was very accurate, and ambulances and fire engines rushed to the target,” Sarea said.

That facility is just southeast of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, an important site that handles incoming Muslim pilgrims en route to nearby Mecca.

Renewed violence

Yemen has been mired in conflict since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to restore the Yemeni government, which had been removed from power in the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces in late 2014.

Cross-border attacks by Houthi forces have escalated since late May when a truce prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic expired. The Saudi-led coalition has responded with air raids on Houthi-held territory.

The Houthis control most of north Yemen and most large urban areas. They say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Sarea said the attack was carried out in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen.

The claimed attack came just after a visit by outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to see Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The kingdom also just hosted the annual G20 summit, which concluded on Sunday.

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