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January 23, 2021
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Critical facility: Aramco says no significant losses in Houthi rocket attack

RIYADH Saudi Arabia: Oil giant Saudi Aramco has said there were no significant losses and customers were unaffected by a rocket attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a petroleum products distribution plant in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah.

One of the facility’s tanks was hit by a missile in early on Monday.

The attack knocked out 10% of all fuel that was stored at the plant, a Saudi Aramco official said on Tuesday, adding that the tank – one of 13 at the facility – is currently out of action.

The official described the site as a “critical facility” that distributes more than 120,000 barrels of products per day.

A fire caused by the attack was extinguished in about 40 minutes with no casualties, he said.

The attack was confirmed by a Saudi official who told the Saudi state news agency (SPA) it was a “terrorist attack with a projectile”.

The oil company’s production and export facilities are mostly in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province, more than 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) away from Jeddah, across the country.

The Houthi rebel group in Yemen announced early Monday it targeted a facility of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco in Jeddah by a missile.

“The missile force managed to target the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah with a winged Quds 2 missile,” the group’s military spokesman Yahya Sarea said.

The rocket hit its target accurately and Saudi “ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles rushed to the targeted location,” he added.

The attack came in response to the continuation of the Saudi intervention in Yemen, the spokesman said.

He warned foreign companies operating in Saudi Arabia that the group’s operations are continuing and that they should stay away from vital installations, as they are within the target list.

Related story: Yemen on brink widespread famine amid worsening humanitarian crisis

Yemen has been mired in conflict since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to restore the Yemeni government, which had been removed from power in the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces in late 2014.

Cross-border attacks by Houthi forces have escalated since late May when a truce prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic expired. The Saudi-led coalition has responded with air raids on Houthi-held territory.

The Houthis control most of northern Yemen and most large urban areas. They say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Sarea said the attack was carried out in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen.