ibusinesslines.com July 23, 2018

Saudi Aramco facilities 'safe' after Yemen's Houthis claim drone attack

12 April 2018, 08:53 | Melissa Porter

Saudi forces intercept Houthi missile over Riyadh, Jazan

Saudi Arabia intercepts missile fired towards Jizan

Saudi Arabia's air defence forces intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh on Wednesday, state media said, after at least three blasts were heard and three clouds of smoke were seen in the sky above the capital.

A video on the TV station's Twitter page said the ballistic missile was sent by the mainly Shia Islamic Houthi rebel movement in Yemen, which is fighting the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

The Houthis claimed to have targeted the defense ministry in Riyadh and a Saudi Aramco distribution facility in Najran.

Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday that its facilities in the southwestern province of Jizan were operating "normally and safely".

"Saudi Arabia and UAE are very anxious about Iran's influence, so they are seeking to keep some military presence on the Yemeni coasts even if the civil war ends", said the official who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Saudi Aramco operates a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Jizan, part of a new economic city on the Red Sea.

Houthi militants have launched missiles in recent months at Riyadh and Saudi cities that border Yemen in the south. That same year in June, 17 Sudanese soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded at Midi of Hajjah province, in north-west Yemen.

The coalition accuses the Houthis of being armed and supported by Iran - charges the group and Tehran deny.

"The coalition is working by all means to restore Yemen's legitimacy so it can become stable and secure", spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement.

According to a 2017 report by Conflict Armament Research, the Qasef-1 is "consistent with descriptions and imagery" of an Iranian drone, the Ababil-T.

Al-Masirah said the Houthis had also launched an attack with the same model of drone on the airport of Abha in neighbouring Asir province.

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