Saudis lead airstrike on Yemen’s capital after Aramco attack

Mohammed Hatem and Zainab Fattah March 19, 2021
Royal Saudi Air Force warplanes
Royal Saudi Air Force warplanes

(Bloomberg) --Saudi-led coalition warplanes pounded Yemeni rebels’ military bases in retaliation for a weekend attack on the heart of the kingdom’s economy.

The raids on the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, targeted military camps, as well as Houthi rebel facilities near the city’s airport and in its suburbs, residents and rebel-run Al-Masirah TV said. A separate strike hit a rebel target in the port province of Hodeidah.

The Iran-backed Houthis attacked a Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Riyadh on Friday with six bomb-laden drones. The assault caused a fire that was later controlled with no impact on oil supplies or derivatives, state-run media said. No casualties were reported.

The escalation is liable to hinder U.S. efforts to end the seven-year war in Yemen, which has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with widespread famine and disease. The conflict is also being complicated by U.S. President Joe Biden’s standoff with Iran over how to resurrect a 2015 accord designed to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The Saudi-led coalition joined the conflict in neighboring Yemen in 2015 to try to restore its internationally recognized government.

The Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia rarely claim lives or cause extensive damage but their frequency has increased in recent months, creating unease in the Gulf, a region key to global oil production and transit. Several attacks on the Saudi capital, Riyadh, have been intercepted, Saudi authorities have said.

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