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Yemen's Houthis claim missile strike on Saudi Aramco plant in Jeddah

Houthi military spokesman said attack took place at dawn using a winged Quds-2 missile and had struck its target
The Houthis, who control northern Yemen, have struck other Saudi energy assets in the past (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthi forces fired a cross-border missile at a Saudi Aramco facility at the Red Sea city of Jeddah, a Houthi military spokesman said on Thursday, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities.

Saudi Aramco, whose oil production and export facilities are mostly in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, more than 1,000km across the country from Jeddah, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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The spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition that has been battling the rebel Houthi movement for six years also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a Twitter post that the attack took place at dawn using a winged Quds-2 missile and had struck its target, without elaborating.

He posted an image with coordinates of what appeared to be a petroleum products distribution plant in Jeddah used for domestic supplies that the Houthis struck with a Quds-2 missile in November 2020. 

Military experts estimated at that time that the missile was fired from about 700km away in Houthi-controlled territory.

Previous attacks

The Houthis, who control northern Yemen, have struck other Saudi energy assets in the past. 

In November, the Saudi energy ministry said a limited fire broke out near a floating platform belonging to the Jazan oil products terminal after a foiled attack using explosive-laden boats in the southern Red Sea.

The Houthis have recently stepped up cross-border drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities, mostly targeting southern Saudi Arabia. 

The coalition says it intercepts most attacks.

On Thursday, the coalition destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile launched towards Jazan and an armed drone launched towards Khamis Mushait, both cities in the south of the kingdom, state media reported.

The Houthi's Sarea said in a separate Twitter post that the Khamis Mushait attack targeted a military site.

Biden ends support

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sanaa.

The United States and United Nations have renewed peace efforts as fighting recently intensified in Yemen's gas-rich Marib region.

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The US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Tuesday on two Houthi military leaders.

The conflict is described by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with the majority of Yemenis dependent on aid and millions facing hunger. Cuts in international aid to Yemen threaten widespread famine this year, aid agencies have warned. 

Last month, US President Joe Biden announced the end of US support for offensive operations by the Saudi-led coalition, in a major policy reversal from the previous administration that may alter the course of the conflict.

"This war has to end. And to underscore our commitment, we're ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales," Biden said in his first major foreign policy speech.