Earlier this week, Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities after deploying several armed drones.
The report was first transmitted by the Al Masirah network, the Houthis official news outlet. Saudi officials later confirmed the attacks, but denied that any significant damage was caused to the pipeline. Saudi press released a statement by the country’s Energy Minister Khalid al Falih saying that “two pump stations on the East-West pipeline were attacked by armed drones which caused a fire and minor damage to Pump Station No. 8.” This is not the first time the Houthis have implemented drones to attack the Saudis and their coalition partners. Last summer, the Houthis claimed its drones targeted the Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates. But UAE officials quickly denied this claim, refuting the Houthi statement that air traffic was greatly disrupted at the airport.
The attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities was the second attack executed by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia this week. Saudi Arabian officials reported that two of its oil tankers were hit in an attack on four vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Few details have emerged regarding that incident.
In response to these attacks, Saudi and UAE jets conducted an air raid on the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. At least six civilians, including women and children, were killed and dozens wounded during the bombings.
There is little doubt that the attacks on Saudi assets will provide a basis for the U.S. continuing its support of its Saudi ally vis-a-vis the Yemen Civil War, the Saudi involvement being the primary reason the Americans became involved in the first place. Reportedly, the recent moving of an American aircraft carrier strike group into the Gulf was at least in order to provide protection to Saudi vessels.