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.