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Saudi Aramco says no impact on supplies after Houthi attacks on facilities

A Saudi Civil Defense member is seen at what the Saudi-led coalition claims was a drone strike by the Iran-allied Houthi group in Yemen, in Jizan
A Saudi Civil Defense member is seen at the site of a Saudi-led coalition as a drone strike by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi group targeting the Al-Shaqeeq desalination plant and the Aramco plant in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, April 20 March , 2022. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

March 20, 2022

RIYADH (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi group fired missiles and drones at Saudi power and water desalination plants, neither affecting supplies nor causing casualties, oil company Saudi Aramco said on Sunday.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the group said the attacks late Saturday and early Sunday and debris from intercepted projectiles caused material damage but no deaths.

The strikes targeted a water desalination plant in Al-Shaqeeq, an Aramco distribution station in Jizan, a power station in Dhahran al Janub, a gas plant in Khamis Mushait and an Aramco liquefied natural gas plant in Yanbu.

Amin Nasser, CEO of Aramco <2222.SE>, in a call about the company’s earnings on Sunday, said: “There were … a number of attacks on our facilities early in the morning. And fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities and no impact on the company’s delivery to its customers.”

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said they had fired ballistic and winged missiles and drones at Aramco facilities in the capital Riyadh, Yanbu and “other areas”.

This was followed by attacks on “vital targets” in other Saudi regions, Sarea added, listing several.

The Saudi-led coalition said initial investigations showed the group fired Iranian-made cruise missiles at Aramco’s Jizan desalination plant and distribution center. It said Saudi air defenses intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile and nine drones.

“These enemy attacks and debris caused by interception caused some material damage to the facilities and civilian cars and homes. So far there have been no fatalities,” said coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Malki.

State media released images and videos of what appeared to be projectile debris, damaged cars and buildings, and firefighters dousing blazes.

PROXY WAR

The seven-year Yemen conflict is widely viewed in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Malki described the attacks as a “dangerous escalation” and a rejection by the Houthi of planned Yemeni consultations in Riyadh.

The group has said it will only engage in discussions in a neutral country and that lifting a coalition blockade in Houthi-held areas should be a priority.

The movement ousted the Yemeni government from the capital, Sana’a, in late 2014, prompting the coalition to intervene months later. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

The war has killed tens of thousands and brought millions to the brink of starvation.

(Reporting by Moataz Mohamed, Yasmin Hussein and Omar Fahmy in Cairo and Saeed Azhar and Maha El Dahan in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Frances Kerry)

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Bobby Allyn

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