The United States, its Western allies and others have condemned drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis on Saudi energy facilities on Friday.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying, “We condemn the Houthi attacks launched against Saudi Arabia’s civil infrastructure earlier today. Unprovoked Houthi attacks against Saudi Aramco’s oil storage facilities in Jeddah as well as attacks against civil facilities in Jizan, Najran, and Dhahran are acts of terrorism aimed to prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people.”
Sullivan went on to accuse Iran of arms shipments to Houthis. “Today’s attacks…were clearly enabled by Iran in violation of UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting the import of weapons into Yemen.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet, “I fully condemn the latest Houthi attack against critical sites in Saudi Arabia, including in Jeddah. These strikes put civilian lives at risk and must stop.”
The Iran-aligned Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Saudi-led coalition said oil giant Aramco's petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was hit, causing a fire in two storage tanks but no casualties.
A huge plume of black smoke could be seen rising over the Red Sea city where the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is taking place this weekend.
France and Germany echoed the US and UK condemnations. The German Foreign Office tweeted, “We strongly condemn today's attacks on essential civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia which violate international humanitarian law and further undermine regional stability.”
The swift and clear Western condemnations came as Iran’s nuclear talks with world powers apparently hinge on a demand by Tehran to remove its Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) from the US list of terrorist organizations. The Guards are known for providing military assistance to the Houthis. The United States, Saudi Arabia and UN arms experts have said that drone and missile technology used by Houthis are supplied by Iran.
Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Secretary-General of the Arab League also condemned the strikes at Saudi civilian targets, saying Houthi attacks threaten security in the region and global energy supplies.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry reiterated that the Kingdom will not be responsible for any shortage of oil supplies to global markets. This is particularly noteworthy given the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a possible global shortages of oil and gas supplies.
The Iran-aligned Houthis who have been battling a coalition led by Saudi Arabia for seven years launched missiles on Aramco's facilities in Jeddah and drones at Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries, the group's military spokesman said. He said they also targeted "vital facilities" in the capital Riyadh.
Saudi state media had earlier reported that a string of drone and rocket attacks by the Houthis was foiled by the coalition.
Saudi air defenses also intercepted and destroyed a ballistic rocket launched towards the port city of Jazan, which caused a "limited" fire to break out at an electricity distribution plant, state media reported.