Saudi Arabia said on Friday that its air defense systems had intercepted a ballistic missile over the southern city of Najran. It was the last in a series of, who have systematically targeted Saudi infrastructure in retaliation by Saudi leaders in neighboring Yemen.
Another missile hit an Aramco oil distribution terminal in Jizan city overnight, causing a fire in one of the terminal’s tanks, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Energy said in a statement.
The Houthis were quick to claim the strikes, along with attempted kamikazi drone strikes.
“Our armed forces attacked vital military barracks and facilities belonging to the Saudi enemy, with eighteen drones and eight ballistic missiles,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sareaa said in a televised statement on Friday, vowing that the attacks would continue.
Saudi state media showed images of debris said to have come from several explosive-laden drones, which, according to the Defense Ministry, were dropped in the kingdom by the Houthis. The ministry condemned the “cowardly” attacks in a statement posted on Twitter and accused the Houthis of threatening the energy supply.
The latest attacks come just days after Saudi Arabia offered a new proposal to end the war in Yemen, in which the kingdom has backed the government against the Houthis. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan unveiled the plan on Monday, which would include an immediate UN-supervised ceasefire, the reopening of the airport in Yemen’s rebel capital Saana, and the military coalition. led by Saudi Arabia lifting its blockade against the rebel. -Hodeidah port.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Saudi-led coalition on Friday authorized four fuel ships to dock in Hodeidah, a strategic port on the Red Sea, according to local media reports.
The Houthis rejected the proposals and reiterated their demand that the Saudi coalition immediately lift the entire air and sea blockade aimed at cutting off supplies to their territory, which covers most of Yemen.
“How is it that those who have launched war now claim that they are eager to mediate peace in our country?” Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday. “The lifting of the blockade and other humanitarian issues cannot be part of any political or military negotiation. We would never accept it.”
Meanwhile, Washington’s special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, returned to the region on Friday in a new. The veteran US diplomat returned just two weeks ago from his second trip to the region, where he held transportation meetings in four countries to try to negotiate a ceasefire.
Chief Houthi negotiator Mohamed Abdel Salam said on Friday that Oman-mediated talks with the US envoy and the Saudis were still ongoing, even as Houthi forces launched the new attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“Ideas and proposals are currently being exchanged with the US and UN envoys, as well as with the Saudis, through the brothers in the Sultunate of Oman,” he told the Arab network Aljazeera. “The discussions revolve around humanitarian efforts, as well as other alleged steps to reach a ceasefire and pave the way for political dialogue.”
But Saudi Arabian leaders say the latest Houthi attacks are further proof that the rebels are not really interested in ending the war.
“The attack on the oil distribution station in Jizan and the attempt to target civilians is a confirmation of the Houthi terrorist militia’s rejection of the Kingdom’s initiative to end the Yemeni crisis, and an affirmation of Iranian guardianship over the political and military decision of the militia, “the Saudi Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The war in Yemen entered its seventh year this week. The UN humanitarian office estimates that the conflict, considered by many to be an indirect war between archrivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, developed at the expense of the Yemeni people, has claimed at least 233,000 lives, mostly civilians.
The UN has said the conflict is fueling thein the world.
While the United States still backs the Yemeni government, in February President Joe Biden announced the end of US support for the offensive operations of the Saudi-led coalition and called for an end to the conflict.
“This war has to end,” Biden said in his first major foreign policy speech after taking office.