Yemeni Houthis release video of missile launch on Saudi oil refinery

On Saturday, the Yemeni Houthi insurgent group (officially known as Ansar Allah) claimed it fired a ‘Burkan-2’ ballistic missile at a Saudi Arabian oil refinery in the coastal town of Yanbu.

The rebel group reported on its website today that the missile launch was the “culmination of a series of military operations” undertaken on Saudi forces. Most of these operations were reported in Saudi’s southern regions of Asir, Jizan, and Najran. In the initial statement of the missile launch, the Houthis said that this is a new phase in the conflict with Saudi Arabia and that more refineries will be hit unless “the brutal aggression in Yemen stops.”

Saudia Arabia has not confirmed a ballistic missile launch into its territory on Saturday. Instead, Saudi authorities reported that a fire, started by hot weather, hit a power transformer near the entrance to the oil refinery. It is unclear what damage was done to the refinery.

The Burkan-2 ballistic missile, which is akin to a Scud, is a relatively new missile design for the Yemeni rebel group. The Burkan-1 was introduced last year with a reported range to hit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, approximately 800km away. Yanbu, however, sits 300km north of Jeddah. This indicates a longer range for the Burkan-2 missile.

In March, Saudi officials reported that state defenses shot down four ballistic missiles coming from Yemen. Two months later, the Houthis reported its forces launched a ballistic missile at Riyadh prior to the arrival of US President Donald Trump. Saudi later said it shot down the missile in its southern regions. In January, another ballistic missile was reported fired at a Saudi base on the Red Sea island of Zuqar. Several similar incidents also occurred throughout 2016.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • George Weiss says:

    Meanwhile half their population are either very sick or homeless. And they brag about one missile. These people are mad.

  • Lise Korson says:

    Is the US counseling the new Saudi prince about the dangers of escalation and suggesting he might use Saudi resources to better effect?

  • Ben Stapley says:

    Very interesting post. Some questions:
    1. This sounds like a new missile with new capabilities for Ansar Allah;
    a. Where and how are Ansar Allah developing such a weapon?
    b. Is this weapon similar in capability to other systems developed by regimes know to proliferate their ballistic weapon’s tech; Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia?
    e. Are these weapon’s easy to manufacture? How could Ansar Allah hide such production from the military coalition arrayed against it? Could this be an imported weapon system?
    2. The absence of a confirmation or a denial an attack from Riyadh seems uncharacteristic; Does Riyadh often neglect to comment on reported attacks against their territory?
    3. Does this weapon system pose a threat to US, NATO or Israeli forces or bases in the area, if we are assuming that the weapon has a range of at least 1100 miles? Have any of these forces or organizations commented?

  • Paul Cock says:

    Funny, they lance a rocket in to Saoudi Arabia, and they curse the Jews and America, is there some connection?

  • Herman Moore says:

    I agree this all sounds very strange indeed………….The whole world is bitching and stressing about the North Korean Missile Program ………….while these RAGTAG Fighters are lobbing Missiles at U.S. – UAE and Warships , Saudi Bases,Oil Refineries and Towns etc.

  • EquitiesResearch says:

    The sandal wearing, impoverished Houthis cannot develop this ability without external help either from North Korea or Iran. In case it is North Korea, it is understandable as NK will sell to anyone who has the money to buy. In case it is Iran, one can expect significant escalation closer to the Saudi ARAMCO IPO. An analyst predicts that Saudis are using shock and awe tactics to create the best case scenario for the IPO. It is possible that their adversaries may be planning the same.

  • NiteshSingh says:

    Quite interesting theory. Iran may throw a spanner in the works around the IPO.


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