Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they launched missile and drone strikes against a Saudi Arabian oil facility and a military base, as their attacks on the kingdom’s energy and security installations multiply.
The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they bombed an air base in Saudi Arabia’s southwest with a drone and hit a Saudi Aramco fuel depot in the city of Jeddah.
While most of the strikes claimed by the Houthis cause limited damage and few casualties, their frequency has roiled energy and shipping markets in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Brent crude rose 0.5% to $64.40 a barrel on Thursday, extending this year’s gains to 24%.
The official Saudi Press agency tweeted that the government had intercepted a “ballistic missile fired by the terrorist Houthi militia” toward Jazan, which is on the Red Sea coast near the Yemeni border.
Aramco and the Saudi government’s Center for International Communication did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Houthis have been fighting Yemen’s United Nations-recognized government since 2014. A Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year on the side of the government. The UN has called the conflict — in which tens of thousands of people have died — the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump classified the Houthis as a terrorist organization last year, shortly after a number of attacks on oil tankers in the Red Sea. His successor, Joe Biden, rescinded that designation, saying it was hindering the efforts of aid workers to provide food and shelter to Yemenis living under Houthi control.
Biden’s administration has vowed to end the conflict. Last month, it halted U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations and appointed Tim Lenderking, a former senior State Department official, to lead American peace efforts.
The Houthis claimed a missile strike on a Jeddah depot owned by Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, in November. The attack didn’t cause any casualties.
Late last month, the Houthis targeted Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with drones and missiles. Saudi authorities said most were intercepted, and shrapnel rained down on parts of the city.
Tensions have also escalated elsewhere in the Gulf. On Wednesday, the Pentagon said it may respond to a rocket assault on a military base in western Iraq hosting its troops, which led to the death of an American contractor from a heart attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the strike on the Al Asad Airbase. It comes ahead of a visit by Pope Francis to Iraq this week.
After a similar attack on a northern Iraqi base last month, the U.S. carried out air strikes against Iran-backed fighters in Syria.