Houthis Renew Attacks Against Saudi Arabia

On Sunday, Houthi spokesperson, Yahya Sare’e, announced the Iran-backed militant organization launched the second and third phase of operations by targeting numerous Saudi oil facilities and other energy infrastructure.

“The armed forces carried out the second phase of breaking the siege by bombing a number of vital and important targets in the areas of Abha, Khamis Mushait, Jizan, Samtah and Dhahran al-Janoub with a groups of ballistic and winged missiles and drones,” Sare’e said in a tweet.

Hours later, Sare’e announced a second and third attack involving drones and Quds-2 ballistic missiles.

Saudi Arabia’s official press agency published a statement Sunday confirming the assaults and condemned the Houthi’s acts of terrorism on civilians.

“[On] Saturday March 19, 2022, at around 11:30 PM a drone assault was made on the petroleum products distribution terminal in Jizan in the southeast of the Kingdom. Two additional drone attacks were made today, Sunday March 20, 2022, at around 5:30 AM, on Yanbu’s natural gas plant, and shortly after, on the facilities of Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company,” the statement said.

The Joint Forces Command of the Saudi-led coalition noted that it successfully intercepted both a ballistic missile and drones during the Houthi offensive.

“The Royal Saudi Air Defense Force and Royal Saudi Air Force have intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched towards Jazan City, in addition to 9 bomb-laden drones launched towards Jazan, Khamis Mushait, Taif, Yanbu and Dhahran al-Janub,” the coalition said.

This weekend’s attacks occurred a little over one week after the Houthi’s announced the “First Siege Breaking Operation.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Houthis Claim Credit for Drone Attacks on Saudi Oil Refineries.]

Despite the Saudi’s statements minimizing the damage caused by the Houthi’s attacks, a publication by its foreign ministry on Monday suggests the assaults are taking a toll on its ability to keep up with the demand of oil it needs to produce. It can also be seen as a signal to Washington that more military assistance is needed to defend oil facilities before production is limited and oil prices soar.

The uptick in recent attacks is a renewed campaign by the Houthis to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to end its attempts to prohibit the entry of fuel into Yemen. Yet, without a comprehensive agreement by the major powers behind the Yemen conflict – Saudi Arabia and Iran – it’s unlikely the Saudis will change course in their effort to thwart the entry of fuel into Yemen.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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