Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Yemeni army, announced in a series of tweets on Friday that six drones had been used in the retaliatory attack that hit the oil facility “with high precision” at dawn, without specifying the type of the UAVs and the exact location of the target.
In retaliation for the stepped-up Saudi-led military campaign and blockade, “Yemeni Armed Forces carried out today at dawn the sixth operation of Shaaban with six drones targeting Aramco in capital of the Saudi enemy, Riyadh,” the military official said.
“The General Command of the Armed Forces confirms that its operations are continuing and escalating as long as the aggression and siege continue,” Saree added.
He also delivered a warning to civilians as well as the foreign firms operating on Saudi soil to stay away from “military and vital” targets, indicating Sana’a’s determination to keep up its attacks the regime in Riyadh, which has been leading a bloody coalition war against Yemen since early 2015.
Initially, Saudi authorities kept silent about the raid, but following Yemen’s announcement, the regime’s Oil Ministry admitted to the incident and said the drone attack had triggered a fire at the facility.
The ministry, however, claimed that the fire had been “brought under control.” It added that the attack had caused no casualties and had not disrupted oil supplies.
Later in the day, the Yemeni forces continued their defense campaign with a drone strike against King Khalid air base near the southwestern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait in the Asir region
Saree said the base had been struck with two Qasef-2K drones “with high precision,” renewing the warning to civilians and foreign firms to keep away from strategic sites in Saudi Arabia.
The news comes as Yemeni army troops, backed by popular and tribal forces, have been making major gains in their decisive push to liberate the city of Ma’rib from the grip of Saudi-funded militants loyal to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Ma’rib — the capital of an oil-rich province of the same name — is seen as the last major stronghold of the Saudi-led mercenaries in the north. The city’s loss would deal a stinging blow to the former Riyadh-backed government, which Riyadh and a group of its allies have been trying to reinstall in Sana’a on the back of their devastating US-sponsored military campaign.
Fearful of such a loss, the Saudi-led coalition has intensified its air raids on Sana’a and elsewhere in Yemen, which usually target residential areas and civilian infrastructure. The alliance has also tightened the already-crippling siege of Yemen, blocking the entry of food, medicine, fuel and basic humanitarian supplies into the war-torn country.
In response, the Yemeni army has also increased its cross-border missile and drone attacks against military targets and vital infrastructure on Saudi soil.
In the latest such attacks, the Yemenis launched a barrage of drones and missiles at Ras Tanura, the site of a refinery and the world’s biggest offshore oil-loading facility. An Aramco was also targeted.
The first Yemeni attack on Aramco took place in mid-September 2019, when the army deployed as many as 10 drones to bomb Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities run by Aramco in the kingdom’s east.
The attack knocked out more than half of crude output, or 5% of global supply in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, sending global crude prices high.