The Saudi-led military coalition says a ballistic missile fired by Houthis at the southern city of Jazan was destroyed in mid-air.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said on Thursday they had fired missiles at Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil plant in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
A statement from Saudi Arabia’s state media said, however, that the Saudi-led military coalition had destroyed the missile in mid-air.
Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a tweet, “The Missile Force targeted Saudi Aramco in Jeddah at dawn with a winged Missile type 2, the strike was accurate.”
“This targeting comes within the natural and legitimate response to the continuation of the brutal blockade and aggression against Yemen,” he added.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had earlier claimed to have targeted the same installation last November. The Saudi-led military coalition later admitted that part of the plant had caught fire.
The plant is located southeast of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport. The airport is used by a large number of visitors to the Kaaba in Mecca.
All flights to Jeddah Airport were diverted to other cities on Thursday, but no reason was given, according to flight radar24.com, a website that monitors air traffic.
The U.S. Consulate in Jeddah has issued a warning to U.S. citizens, citing an attack on Aramco oil facilities. It said it was not aware of any casualties but called on US citizens to “take immediate precautionary measures in the event of an attack.”
The Houthis have stepped up the cross-border drone and missile strikes on Saudi cities in recent days. The attacks usually targeted southern Saudi Arabia. The Saudi coalition says it has thwarted most of the attacks.
The conflict is seen as an indirect war in the region between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, the Houthis have denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Iran’s intelligence have been made more than once.
The conflict in Yemen began about six years ago when the Houthis stormed the capital and took control of much of the northern part of the country. The Saudi-led military coalition launched a bombing campaign to liberate the capital from the Houthis and eventually succeeded in restoring the internationally recognized government.
More than 12,000 civilians have been killed so far in the conflict. Yemen is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and famine. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is facing international criticism for killing civilians and targeting non-military targets.
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