DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they struck a Saudi oil facility in the port city of Jiddah on Thursday, the latest in a series of cross-border attacks the group has claimed against the kingdom amid the grinding war in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned media did not immediately acknowledge any incident in Jiddah.
Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarie, a Houthi military spokesman, tweeted that the rebels fired a new Quds-2 cruise missile at the facility. He posted a satellite image online that matched Aramco’s North Jiddah Bulk Plant, where oil products are stored in tanks. The rebels claimed they hit the same facility last November, an attack the Saudi-led coalition later admitted had sparked a fire at the plant.
The facility sits just southeast of Jiddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, a major airfield that handles Muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca. Flights coming into airport diverted or otherwise flew in circles early Thursday morning without explanation, according to tracking data from website FlightRadar24.com.
Since 2015, the Houthis battling the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen have targeted international airports, along with military installations and critical oil infrastructure, within Saudi Arabia. In recent weeks the group has stepped up its attacks, repeatedly crashing drones and missiles into the kingdom’s Patriot missile batteries.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen after the rebels seized the country’s capital, Sanaa. The war has settled into a bloody stalemate, with Saudi Arabia facing international criticism for its airstrikes killing civilians.