The Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen fired missiles and drones at Saudi energy and water desalination facilities, which oil company Saudi Aramco said had no impact on supply or cause casualties.
Yehia Sarie, a spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, said the rebels on Sunday launched “a vast and extensive military operation in the depths of Saudi Arabia”, firing ballistic missiles and loaded drones bombs to Saudi Aramco facilities and other “sensitive” sites. targets” in the country.
He described the assault as retaliation for the Saudi-led “aggression and blockade” that has turned much of Yemen into a desert.
The salvo also came as Saudi state-backed oil giant Aramco reported its profits jumped 124% in 2021 to $110 billion, a jump fueled by renewed concerns over oil shortages. global supplies and soaring oil prices.
Aramco, also known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., released its earnings report after weeks of intense volatility in energy markets sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Punitive sanctions against Russia, one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil and petroleum products, have added turmoil to an already tight energy market.
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Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on a company earnings call on Sunday: ‘There have been… a number of early morning attacks at our facilities. There were no injuries or fatalities and no impact on the company’s supply to its customers.”
International benchmark Brent crude oil hovered above $107 on Sunday after nearly hitting a high of $140 earlier this month. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have so far resisted Western calls to increase oil production to make up for the loss of Russian oil as gasoline prices soar.
Earlier this week, the Houthis rejected an invitation from the Gulf Cooperation Council for six nations to attend talks on the Yemen conflict, which will be held in Riyadh from March 29.
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The Saudi Arabia-based Gulf Cooperation Council said it had invited Yemen’s warring parties to talks in Riyadh aimed at ending the war, an offer rejected outright by the Houthis, who demanded that the negotiations take place in a “neutral” country.
Peace talks have stalled since the Houthis tried to seize oil-rich Marib, one of the last strongholds of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in the north of the country.
Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition in Yemen in support of the internationally recognized government, which has been engaged in a bloody conflict against the Huthis since mid-2014.
The war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, directly or indirectly, and displaced millions, in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
On Wednesday, the UN expressed disappointment after a donors’ conference raised $1.3 billion, well below the $4.27 billion target.
Houthi rebels often target airports and oil installations in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, amid the kingdom’s leadership of the military coalition against them.
(With agency contributions)