Drone attack on Riyadh oil refinery claimed by Houthis causes fire

DUBAI (Reuters) – An airstrike on an oil refinery in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, sparked a fire on Friday that was brought under control, the Energy Ministry said, after Yemen’s Houthi group said it struck the site with six drones.

The refinery is operated by state oil giant Saudi Aramco. The attack, which occurred at 6:05 am Saudi time (0305 ​​GMT), resulted in no injuries or deaths, and did not disrupt the supply of oil or petroleum products, the Energy Ministry said.

The Houthis said earlier that day that they had hit an Aramco-owned facility in Riyadh, without specifying the targets they said were hit.

“Our armed forces carried out an operation early today … with six drones that attacked the Aramco company in the enemy Saudi capital, Riyadh,” said Yahya Sarea, a Houthi military spokesman.

The Energy Ministry did not say who had launched the drones or from where.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, but said it would “at the earliest opportunity.”

Houthis aligned with Iran have stepped up attacks on Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, in recent weeks.

Sarea said operations against Saudi Arabia will continue and increase as long as Saudi “aggression” against Yemen continues.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry said this and other attacks had targeted the security and stability of the world’s energy supply, not just Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against Houthi forces, which ousted the internationally recognized Yemeni government from power in Sanaa in late 2014.

Riyadh says it intercepts most of the drones and missiles the Houthis say they launch at airports, air bases and energy infrastructure, but some cause damage.

On March 7, the coalition said a barrage of drones and missiles had been intercepted en route to targets, including an oil storage depot at Ras Tanura, the site of a refinery and the offshore oil loading facility. biggest of the world. A residential complex in Dhahran used by Saudi Aramco was also attacked.

Sarea warned “foreign companies and citizens” to avoid military sites and key infrastructure.

In renewed diplomatic efforts to end the war, the United Nations and the United States have urged the Houthis, who are also pressing an offensive against the government-controlled city of Marib in Yemen, to resort to negotiations rather than a military escalation.

Written by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Susan Fenton


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