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A series of attacks in Saudi Arabia, including on an oil facility in the city of Jeddah, claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels, caused a major fire on Friday and delayed free practice for the Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Jeddah .
Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility in a statement on Friday March 25 for a series of attacks in Saudi Arabia, one of which caused a huge fire at an oil facility owned by oil giant Aramco in Jeddah.
Free practice 2 of the Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Jeddah has been delayed. The session started at 8:15 p.m. local time (6:15 p.m. French time) instead of 8 p.m. (6 p.m. French time).
These attacks come on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the intervention of a military coalition led by Riyadh in Yemen to fight the Houthi rebels, close to Iran.
The Saudi kingdom, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, warned on Monday of the risk of a drop in its oil production in the aftermath of several drone and missile attacks claimed by the Houthis.
One of them had targeted an Aramco refinery in the industrial city of Yanbu on the Red Sea, about 100 kilometers north of Jeddah.
According to an AFP journalist, a huge plume of black smoke was emerging Friday afternoon from the Jeddah site.
The fire “has been brought under control and caused no casualties,” the coalition said in a statement early in the evening, adding that it would “have no impact on activities in the city of Jeddah.” with particular reference to the nearby Formula 1 circuit.
The attack targeted “tanks of petroleum products” from Aramco, according to the same source.
Sixteen attacks in total
In their statement, the Houthis said they had carried out a total of sixteen attacks.
The attacks come as oil prices have risen sharply since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and global supplies have been disrupted as Russia is hit by Western sanctions.
“Saudi Arabia will not take responsibility for any shortage of oil supply in world markets in light of attacks on its oil facilities,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The attacks by the Houthis, Yemeni insurgents supported by Iran, “affect the production of the kingdom and its ability to meet its commitments, clearly threatening the security and stability of supplies on world markets”, he insisted.
One of the rebel attacks on Sunday forced Aramco to “temporarily” cut production and dip into inventory to compensate.
The Foreign Ministry again accused Iran of “continuing to supply drones and missiles” to the Houthis, calling on the international community to “take responsibility”.
Western countries have been pressing since the start of the Ukrainian crisis the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, to increase its production.
But the Gulf monarchy has remained deaf to these calls, faithful to its commitments to the OPEC + alliance, which includes Russia, the second largest exporter of crude oil in the world.