Saudi Arabia on Friday said it shot down eight explosives-laden drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group towards the kingdom, local media reported.
“The Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces and the Royal Saudi Air Force were able to intercept and destroy eight [booby-trapped] drones launched by the Houthi militia towards the Kingdom, in flagrant violation of international and humanitarian law,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.
The ministry also stated that the Houthi group launched three ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia, one of which landed in Yemen’s Al-Jawf province and the other two landed in “two uninhabited border areas.”
In a separate statement, the Saudi Defense Ministry said this attack “not only targets the Kingdom, but also the nerve center of the global economy, the security of petroleum exports, the stability of oil supplies and the freedom of navigation and international trade.”
At dawn on Friday, Riyadh announced that a fire broke out in an oil facility after it was targeted with a projectile in the southern region of Jizan. No casualties were reported in the attack.
In a statement on Friday morning, Yemen’s Houthi group announced targeting, with 18 drones and eight ballistic missiles, vital sites in Saudi Arabia including a number of locations of Aramco oil firm and the King Abdulaziz airbase in Dammam.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia proposed a UN-supervised cease-fire between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, the reopening of Sana’a International Airport and the start of negotiations.
Yemen has been ravaged by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 30 million people accounting for 80% of the population needing humanitarian assistance and protection.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara