CAIRO: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Saturday it had fired 14 drones at several Saudi Arabian cities, including at Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis in Yemen had on Friday said it destroyed three drones launched towards southern Saudi Arabia and a fourth over Yemen. It said the group “failed to launch two ballistic missiles” and they fell inside Yemen.

Saudi Aramco, the state oil firm, said when contacted that it would respond at the earliest opportunity.

The Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised press conference that the group had attacked Aramco’s refineries in Jeddah as well as military targets in Riyadh, Jeddah, Abha, Jizan and Najran.

Sarea’s statement contained inaccuracies. It mentioned the wrong name for the international airport in Jeddah and the wrong location for King Khalid base, saying it was in Riyadh when it is actually in the south of the kingdom.

The Saudi-led coalition said later on Saturday it has attacked 13 targets during a military operation against the Houthis in Yemen.

The operation hit weapons depots, air defence systems and drones’ communication systems in Sanaa, Saada, and Marib provinces, the coalition said.

Aramco’s refinery in Jeddah was decommissioned in 2017 but it has a petroleum products distribution plant there that the Houthis had previously targeted in March.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched cross border attacks on Saudi Arabia using drones and missiles since the coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the movement ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital, Sanaa. Efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to engineer a ceasefire in Yemen have stalled.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2021

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