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Saudi Arabia confirms drone attack on oil facility

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Saudi Arabia confirms drone attack on oil facility

A Saudi oil facility was on Sunday the target of a drone attack, an energy official in the kingdom said.

“One of the oil storage yards at the Ras Tanura port [in eastern Saudi Arabia] came on Sunday morning under a drone attack coming from the sea,” the unnamed official said, according to Saudi state television al-Ekhbariya.

In the evening, shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell near a residential quarter of the Aramco oil company in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Dhahran, where thousands of the firm’s employees and their families from different nationalities live, the monarchy’s Energy Ministry said.

Both attacks resulted in no casualties or damage, according to the official.

The Saudi Defence Ministry called both attacks a “terrorist, cowardly aggression,” targeting the world’s energy supplies.

The Saudi confirmation came shortly after Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they had attacked an Aramco facility at the Ras Tanura port and other sites in neighbouring Saudi Arabia that is leading an alliance fighting the Iran-linked rebels.

A total of 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles were used in the operation, Houthi military spokesman Yehia Serae said in an online statement.

He vowed more “painful” military operations in Saudi territory.

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The Houthis targeted Aramco in November, with Riyadh later saying that the attack had caused a fire at a distribution station, but that fuel supplies were not affected.

In a much bigger incident in 2019, two Aramco facilities were attacked, temporarily disrupting crude oil production.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks although Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed Iran, which denied involvement.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has been the target of increasing drone and missile attacks by the Houthis.

Earlier Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed 10 drones fired by the Houthis targeting civilians in the oil-rich monarchy.

The coalition also destroyed two ballistic missiles launched by the rebels towards Jazan, Saudi state television al-Arabiya reported.

The coalition on Sunday mounted a series of airstrikes on Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sana’a, local residents said.

At least four civilians were injured in the bombardment, pro-Houthi television al-Masirah said.

The Saudi-led coalition confirmed the strikes, describing them as painful.

“The military operation targets the Houthi capabilities in the occupied capital Sana’a and a number of [Yemeni] provinces,” the coalition, said, according to the official Saudi news agency SPA.

Yemen has been roiled by a devastating power struggle between a Saudi-backed government and the Houthis since late 2014.

In 2015, the Saudi-led coalition started a military campaign against the Houthis in Yemen.

US President Joe Biden has declared an end to US support for the military campaign in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran.

Biden also named long-time diplomat Tim Lenderking as US special envoy for the country.

The conflict of more than six years in Yemen has pushed the impoverished country to the brink of famine and wrecked its health facilities.

The United Nations has described Yemen as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

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