Last month, the Biden admin removed the pro-Iranian jihadi group from terrorism list.
A month after President Joe Biden’s administration reversed the Trump-era terrorist designation on the Iran-backed Houthis group, the Yemen-based militia has stepped up drone strikes against Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
On Friday, the Houthi militia again struck an oil facility near the Saudi capital Riyadh. The state-run Saudi Aramco refinery was hit by several explosive-laden drones, the pro-Iranian terrorist group claimed. The attack targeting the oil giant Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, caused a blaze but did not result in any casualties, the media reports said.
The Iran-sponsored Houthi militia, officially called the “Ansar Allah,” Arabic for ‘fighters for Allah,’ took responsibility for the terrorist attack. “Our armed forces carried out at dawn today an operation… with six drones which targeted the Aramco company in the capital of the Saudi enemy, Riyadh,” Houthi spokesman admitted.
The Associated Press reported the latest Houthi attack:
A drone attack struck an oil installation in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Friday, the Saudi state-run news agency reported, igniting a blaze at the facility deep in the kingdom’s territory.
The dawn attack caused no injuries or damage, and did not disrupt oil supplies, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
The kingdom is facing more frequent airborne assaults as Saudi-led coalition forces battle Iran-backed Houthi rebels across the southern border in Yemen. Most recently, drones struck Ras Tanura, the country’s largest crude oil refinery with capacity of 550,000 barrels a day, raising concerns about the expanding capabilities of Saudi Arabia’s regional foes.
Details about Friday’s attack remained slim, and authorities did not name the facility. Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the kingdom’s oil giant, operates a refinery just southeast of Riyadh that produces gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other products for consumption around the capital. (…)
The Saudi statement did not blame the Houthis for Friday’s attack. But a few hours earlier, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarie reported the group had fired six drones at an unnamed Aramco facility in Riyadh, without providing evidence for what he described as a “high-accuracy hit.” Riyadh lies some 1,000 kilometers (over 600 miles) from Yemen’s soil, but the rebels have fired drones and missiles at the Saudi capital before.
While the Biden administration doesn’t see the Houthis as terrorists, the militia’s official motto says everything you need to know about them: “Allah is Greater, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.”
Buoyed by the lifting of the terrorist designation by President Biden, the Houthi jihadis have conducted multiple drone strikes at the Saudi oil heartland.
These attacks could end up having devastating consequences, not just for the Saudi Arab, but for global energy security. In September 2019, the Houthis, armed with Iranian drones and missiles, struck at two Saudi oil facilities. The strike cut the Saudi oil production to half and disrupted the global oil supply.
The attack on Saudi refineries is part of Iran’s larger strategy to intimidate the West and its neighboring oil-producing Arab countries.
Tehran has also put the Strait of Hormuz in its cross hairs. The shipping lane handles around one-third of the world’s oil supply. Last month, Iran attacked an Israeli cargo ship in the strait. In early January, Iranian forces hijacked a South Korean oil tanker passing through the strait, a move aimed at forcing Seoul to release assets worth billions frozen in the wake of the U.S. sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump.DONATE
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