Spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree confirmed in a statement on Saturday attacks by 10 drones on two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco in the country’s East.
“The drone fleet targeted Abqaiq and Khurais oil refineries of Aramco company in Eastern Saudi Arabia,” the statement said in the statement read out on al-Masirah news channel.
He also vowed to widen the range of attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition battling them in neighboring Yemen.
“These attacks are our right, and we warn the Saudis that our targets will keep expanding,” Saree said.
“We have the right to strike back in retaliation for the air strikes and the targeting of our civilians for the last five years,” he said.
Drones hit two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco firm in the country’s East, causing huge fires before dawn on Saturday.
Citing an interior ministry spokesperson, SPA news agency reported on Saturday the blazes at the facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were under control.
Riyadh did not identify the source of the attack, but announced that the investigations were ongoing.
Online videos showed smoke rising above the state-owned oil giant’s facility as what appeared to be gunfire could be heard in the background.
Abqaiq, 60 km (37 miles) Southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, contains the world’s largest oil processing plant. Khurais, 190 km further Southwest, contains the country’s second largest oilfield.
It came just weeks after Yemeni forces conducted attacks on an oil field affiliated to Saudi Aramco in the East of the kingdom in retaliation for Riyadh’s war on their country. Oil facilities at Shaybah, which has the largest strategic oil reserve in Saudi Arabia near the UAE border and operated by state-oil company Saudi Aramco, were targeted by 10 Yemeni drones.
In mid-May, Yemeni soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, launched a major operation against the strategic oil facility in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression and siege of the impoverished country. Following the attack, Saudi Arabia stopped pumping crude oil on the major pipeline across the country. The retaliatory attack also led to the rise of oil prices and fall of stock markets in Persian Gulf Arab countries.
The attack bears extra significance at this stage of the war because the Yemeni forces could fly armed drones so far and carry out precision strikes and then fly them back while evading all Saudi defenses on the way. The long-range drones open unlimited possibilities for Yemeni resistance forces, which have already surpassed all expectations by surviving the massive Saudi onslaught and mounted a potent response with an arsenal of ballistic missiles.
Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has also warned that its recent attack on a major Saudi oil facility was the start of operations against 300 vital targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The Ansarullah said its drone attack on pumping stations of the Saudi state oil company Aramco was the start of operations against 300 vital targets. The group added that other planned targets include military headquarters and facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures. Weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals, as well as water and electricity plants, have been targeted, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) announced in late August that the total number of reported fatalities in Yemen has passed the 91,000 mark over the past four and a half years.
France, the United States, the United Kingdom and some other Western countries have faced criticisms over arms sales to the Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose aggression against Yemen has affected 28 million people and caused what the United Nations calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world”. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
A UN panel has compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.