The spokesperson for the Houthi-aligned Yemeni army has claimed responsibility for a successful missile strike on an oil facility in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.
Brigadier General Yahya Saree said yesterday that the attack was "within the framework of the natural and legitimate response to the continuation of the brutal siege and aggression against our dear people" in Yemen. The same Aramco site was reportedly struck last November, in an attack which the Saudi-led coalition later admitted had caused a fire at the plant.
القوة الصاروخية تتمكن بفضل الله من إستهداف شركة أرامكو السعودية في جده فجر اليوم بصاروخ مجنح نوع قدس2 وكانت الإصابة دقيقة بفضل الله
يأتي هذا الاستهداف في اطار الرد الطبيعي والمشروع على استمرار الحصار الغاشم والعدوان على شعبنا العزيز pic.twitter.com/oTiL0xk2v6
— العميد يحيى سريع (@army21ye) March 4, 2021
Saree also claimed that the Yemen Air Force used a domestically-made Qasef-2K combat drone to attack the King Khalid Air Base in the south-west Saudi Arabian city of Khamis Mushait.
The Saudis had earlier said that they intercepted a "ballistic missile fired by the terrorist Houthi militia" headed towards Jazan which is close to the Yemeni border and lies south of Jeddah. On Tuesday, Saree said that the Yemenis had targeted Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport using the Qasef-2K drone, although this has also been disputed by Riyadh.
Following the recent string of retaliatory cross-border attacks on the Kingdom, the US imposed sanctions on two Houthi-affiliated leaders on Tuesday, citing their roles in the attacks and on shipping in the Red Sea.
According to the US State Department, Mansur Al-Saadi, the Chief of Staff of the Houthi Naval Forces, and Ahmad Ali Ahsan Al-Hamzi, the head of the Houthi-affiliated Yemeni Air Force, were sanctioned for "procur[ing] weapons from Iran and oversee[ing] attacks threatening civilians and maritime infrastructure."
The move followed President Joe Biden's removal of the Houthi movement from the list of specially-designated foreign terrorist organisations, where it was placed by his predecessor Donald Trump in an attempt to bring an end to the six-year conflict in Yemen. The designation was criticised by aid organisations and former US diplomats and officials who feared that it could prolong the humanitarian crisis in the country and stifle aid efforts.
I look forward to hearing the Biden Administration's response to my inquiries about what specifically they meant by ending their support for the Saudi's war of attrition in Yemen. We need to fully end our complicity. pic.twitter.com/4gJDk0C8aK
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) March 3, 2021
The Biden administration is also reportedly looking to recalibrate its relationship with Riyadh, having announced an intention to end support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen and a temporary halt on arms sales to the Saudis and their coalition partner the UAE. However, some lawmakers in Washington have asked for clarification over what this will entail.