Yemeni army, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, has attacked a refinery of the Saudi oil company Aramco in the capital Riyadh using a new drone unveiled on Wednesday, with the kingdom confirming a fire at the plant.
“Our drone air forces have targeted the refinery of Aramco company in Riyadh,” read a Twitter posting on the account of Yemen’s al-Masirah television channel.
“The operation by the drone air force is a strong start in a new stage of deterring the aggression,” the channel quoted Yemen’s army spokesman Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman as saying in a tweet.
According to al-Masirah, the attack was the first to be conducted using a new long-range drone.
Aramco confirmed a fire at its refinery in Riyadh, saying fire control teams and the Saudi civil defense had contained a limited blaze that erupted in the early evening in its refinery in the capital.
Yemeni forces regularly attack positions inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
The Saudi campaign was launched in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government and against Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective administration. The offensive has, however, achieved neither of its goals despite the spending of billions of petrodollars and the enlisting of Saudi Arabia’s regional and Western allies.
The protracted war, which has been accompanied by a naval and aerial blockade, has already killed over 12,000 Yemenis, with the United States and Britain providing the bulk of weapons used by Saudi forces and giving coordinates for the airstrikes.
The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured during the past three years.