Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi drones and missiles aimed at energy centres

An Aramco plant in Jizan was attacked by a drone laden with explosives

An Aramco oil terminal in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. Plants owned by the company came under attack from Yemen's Houthi rebels on Sunday. Reuters

Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked economic and civilian sites in southern Saudi Arabia early on Sunday using drones and ballistic and cruise missiles, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

An Aramco plant in Jizan was attacked by a drone laden with explosives, SPA reported, quoting the Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally recognised Yemeni government.

A gas station in Khamis Mushait and a power station in Dhahran were also attacked. Some of the projectiles were fired towards Taif but there were no details of any casualties or damage.

The coalition said a ballistic missile aimed at Jizan was intercepted and destroyed and nine drones were shot down. No casualties were reported.

Another hostile attack aimed at a Saudi Aramco liquefied gas plant in the port Red Sea city of Yanbu was also foiled, SPA said.

"These hostile attacks by the terrorist Houthi militia are deliberately targeting civilian objects and economic installations that are protected under the customary International Humanitarian Law, using ballistic missiles and bomb-laden drones," said Brig Gen Turki Al Malki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition.

"Initial investigations indicate that the militia has used [Iranian] cruise missiles that targeted Al Shuqaiq Water Desalination Plant and Aramco’s Jizan bulk plant.

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told a call about the company's earnings on Sunday that "a number of attacks early in the morning" had targeted the company's facilities.

"Thankfully there were no injuries or fatalities and, no impact to the company's supply to its customers.

"These hostile attacks and debris resulting from interceptions caused some material damage at the facilities and civilian cars and houses. There was no loss of life as of now."

The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said the actions of the Iran-backed Houthis "reflects their blatant disregard for the international community, the efforts made to end the Yemeni crisis, and all international laws and norms".

The ministry "urged the international community to take an immediate and decisive stance to stop these recurrent acts that threaten the security and safety of civilians, as well as the security of global energy supplies and economic stability", state news agency Wam reported.

The UAE expressed its "full solidarity with Saudi Arabia".

Updated: March 20, 2022, 7:44 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS