Yemen Houthis attack Saudi energy facilities and damage an oil refinery

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry said on Sunday that Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement had fired missiles and drones at power and water desalination facilities in Saudi Arabia, causing a temporary drop in production at a refinery, but there were no casualties.

The ministry said in a statement that drone strikes hit a petroleum products distribution station in the southern Jizan region, a natural gas refinery, and Yasref refinery in the Red Sea port of Yanbu.

Referring to Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, the company said that the attack on YASREF facilities led to a temporary reduction in the refinery’s production, which will be compensated by the stockpile. (2222.SE) and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec).

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There was no impact from the attacks on its supplies to customers, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said in a phone call regarding the company’s earnings. Read more nL2N2VN03N]

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said earlier that the attacks, which occurred on Saturday night and Sunday morning, also targeted a desalination plant in Al Shuqaiq, a power plant in Dhahran Al Janoob and a gas facility in Khamis Mushait.

It said the attacks and debris from the intercepting projectiles caused material damage but did not result in loss of life.

Yahya Saree, a military spokesman for the Houthi group, said that the group launched ballistic missiles, wings and drones at Aramco’s facilities in the capital, Riyadh, Yanbu and “other areas”, followed by attacks on “vital targets” in other Saudi regions.

The coalition said initial investigations showed that the group used Iranian-made cruise missiles on the desalination plant and Aramco’s distribution center in Jizan. It added that the Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile and nine drones.

State media published photos and videos of projectile debris, destroyed cars and structures, and firefighters dousing the flames.

Possible truth

Saudi Arabia has struggled to extricate itself from the seven-year conflict that has killed tens of thousands and left millions of Yemenis facing starvation. The Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have also endangered the kingdom’s airports and oil facilities and caused the deaths of some civilians.

The office of UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg said Sunday that the UN special envoy is discussing a possible truce during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins in April. It was not clear if the two sides had agreed on the UN plans. Read more

The Houthis ousted the Yemeni government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, prompting the coalition to intervene. The conflict is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt regime and foreign aggression.

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(Covering) Moataz Mohamed, Yasmine Hussein and Omar Fahmy from Cairo, Saeed Azhar and Maha El Dahan from Dubai Writing by Ghaida Ghantous Editing by Francis Kerry and Mark Potter

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