Terrorism

Iran-backed Houthis under global condemnation after Saudi Aramco attack

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Following an Iran-backed Houthi attack on a Saudi Aramco facility on Friday, world leaders and organizations stood with the Kingdom in condemning the Yemen-based terrorist group.

Arab Coalition spokesperson Turki al-Malki said the fire that damaged two tanks had been brought under control and caused no injuries.

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“This hostile escalation targets oil facilities and aims to undermine energy security and the backbone of global economy,” al-Malki said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of many influential world leaders who condemned the attack promptly, saying “These strikes put civilian lives at risk and must stop,” in a social media post.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also took a strong stance against the Houthis, saying “Ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, the Houthis continue their destructive behavior. Yemenis need parties to halt hostilities, and need relief,” also in a social media post.

“We will continue to work with our Saudi partners to strengthen their defenses while also seeking to advance a durable end to the conflict, improve lives, and create the space for Yemenis to determine their own future collectively,” said a statement from the US Department of State shared with the media.

Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, condemned the attacks and called them “clearly enabled by Iran” despite an ongoing UN arms embargo, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar al-Saud, called on the international community to take a stronger position. A statement said: “The Iran backed terrorist Houthis continue to attack our civilians, infrastructure and energy facilities with Iranian made missiles and UAV’s with impunity. The international community must act against this aggression that targets innocent civilians and global energy supplies.”

Government representatives from the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, France, Germany, Iraq, Bosnia, Egypt, Sudan and other countries also condemned the attack in various official statements.

The attack on Aramco’s facilities followed a series of attacks against Saudi Arabia the same day, one which caused a limited fire at an electricity distribution plant in the town of Samtah in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan and another group of nine drones that were launched towards the southern, eastern and central regions of the Kingdom at dawn on Friday.

The latter attempt was successfully thwarted by the Kingdom’s air defenses, SPA reported.

The Houthi militia has increased its hostilities against Saudi Arabia in recent months, with some attempts against neighboring UAE.

Apart from a risk to civilian life, these attacks also threaten the energy security, more prominently during an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

An official in the Ministry of Energy stated that “the Kingdom will not be responsible for any shortage in oil supplies to the international markets, while these terrorist attacks by Iran-backed Houthi terrorist militias against its oil facilities continue,” in a statement shared with the press.

In response

The Arab Coalition announced the start of air strikes in Yemen on Friday in retaliation for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, according to an Al Arabiya report citing the coalition spokesperson al-Malki.

The coalition reported that its forces are carrying out air strikes on “sources of threat in Sanaa and Hodeidah,” despite exercising “the highest standard of restraint for Houthi attacks on oil facilities” in recent days.

The coalition asked civilians to stay away from oil sites in Hodeidah, stressing that it will take all efforts to direct strikes away from civilian facilities without compromising action against credible sources of threat, according to the same report.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have launched dozens of cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia throughout 2021 and into 2022.

In September 2021, the Houthis intensified their efforts to take Marib, a provincial capital which is the government’s last northern stronghold.

The Iran-backed militia frequently target civilian areas and energy facilities in the Kingdom with drones, ballistic missiles and explosive-laden boats.

The Arab Coalition has been carrying out attacks against legitimate military Houthi targets in Yemen in recent months, warning civilians not to approach or gather around the targeted sites beforehand.

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