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Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia jeopardizing Yemen peace efforts: US State Department

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The United States on Friday condemned yet another string of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, which it said were a “clear provocation meant to perpetuate the conflict.”

A petroleum products distribution terminal in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan was struck by a projectile on Thursday, causing a fire at one of the terminal’s tanks, the Saudi Ministry of Energy said.

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This came after Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted and destroyed at least eight bomb-laden drones fired by the Iran-backed Houthis targeting civilians in the Kingdom overnight Thursday.

“The actions by the Houthis are a clear provocation meant to perpetuate the conflict. This is the latest in a series of Houthi attempts to disrupt global energy supplies and threatens civilian populations,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said on Friday.

Saudi Arabia and the US have been working in tandem with the United Nations to end the yearslong war in Yemen. However, the Houthis continue to escalate their offensive on Marib and their cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.

US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking is back in the region for his third trip in less than two months as the Biden administration steps up its efforts to reach a ceasefire.

So far, the Houthis have rejected ceasefire proposals from the UN and the US. Saudi Arabia announced another initiative aimed at ending the war earlier this week. Houthi officials reportedly welcomed parts of it, but they continued to attack the Kingdom.

Thursday’s attack comes days after the Yemeni government announced its backing for the Saudi initiative.

“The Houthis’ actions are prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people and jeopardizing peace efforts at a critical moment when the international community is increasingly united behind a ceasefire and a resolution of the conflict,” the State Department official said. “We again call on all parties to commit seriously to and strictly uphold a ceasefire and engage in negotiations under UN auspices, in conjunction with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking,” Price added.

Read more: UN Secretary-General praises Saudi initiative to end fighting in Yemen