Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry says an unmanned aerial aircraft has struck and subsequently ignited a fire at an oil facility in the capital of Riyadh, while claiming that the supply of petroleum and its derivatives have not been affected.
The official Saudi Press Agency, citing a statement by an energy ministry official, reported early on Friday that the attack happened at approximately 4:40 a.m. local time (0140 GMT) on Thursday and caused no deaths or injuries.
“The refinery’s operations and supplies of petroleum and its derivatives were not affected,” the statement said.
It did not specify where the attack originated from.
The drone attack comes as Saudi officials tend to depict such operations as insignificant when the scope of the damage is usually revealed later on.
The world’s top oil exporter has faced frequent retaliatory missile and drone attacks by the Yemeni armed forces, who have been defending their country against a Riyadh-led devastating military aggression and brutal siege for seven years.
Back on March 19 last year, Yemen’s army said it had successfully carried out a drone strike against a facility belonging to oil giant Aramco in Riyadh in retaliation for the kingdom’s ongoing military aggression and siege.
Yahya Saree, the spokesman for the Yemeni army, announced in a series of tweets at the time that six drones had been used in the retaliatory attack that hit the oil facility “with high precision” at dawn, without specifying the type of the UAVs and the exact location of the target.
In retaliation for the stepped-up Saudi-led military campaign and blockade, “Yemeni Armed Forces carried out at dawn the sixth operation of Shaaban with six drones targeting Aramco in the capital of the Saudi enemy, Riyadh,” the military official said.
“The General Command of the Armed Forces confirms that its operations are continuing and escalating as long as the aggression and siege continue,” Saree added.
Initially, Saudi authorities kept silent about the raid, but following Yemen’s announcement, the kingdom’s oil ministry admitted to the incident and said the drone attack had triggered a fire at the facility.
The ministry, however, claimed that the fire had been “brought under control.” It added that the attack had caused no casualties and had not disrupted oil supplies.
Saudi airstrikes across Yemen
Meanwhile, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported a dozen air attacks on the country’s northern province of Hajjah on Thursday evening, saying the Saudi jets bombarded the Harad and Hayran districts.
Fighter jets from the Royal Saudi Air Force also carried out six airstrikes on the al-Dhaher district, two raids on the Kitaf wa Al Boqe’e district and another two on the Shada’a district in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.
Saudi-led fighter jets launched four strikes on various districts, including al-Jubah and Wadi al-Ubaidah, of the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, in addition to a raid on the Mukayras district of Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda.
There is still no report of possible casualties in the airstrikes.
Moreover, Saudi military aircraft conducted an airstrike against the Khabb wa ash Sha’af district in Yemen’s northern province of Jawf.
Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western states.
The objective was to bring back to power the former Riyadh-backed regime and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.
The war has stopped well short of all of its goals, despite killing hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Yemeni forces have continued to grow stronger in the face of the Saudi-led invaders, advancing toward strategic areas held by Saudi-led mercenaries, including Ma’rib province, and conducting several rounds of counterstrikes against Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent months.