DUBAI – Yemen's Houthi rebels said they struck a Saudi oil facility in the port city of Jiddah early Monday with a new cruise missile, just hours after the kingdom finished hosting its virtual Group of 20 leaders summit.
The kingdom acknowledged the attack hours later. Videos of a small explosion at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility in Jiddah had circulated on social media all day and a satellite photo confirmed damage at the site.
A projectile struck a fuel tank at the Jiddah distribution station and ignited a fire around 3:50 a.m., an unnamed Energy Ministry official said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, blamed the rebels for what he called “a cowardly attack which not only targets the kingdom, but also targets the nerve center of the world's energy supply and the security of the global economy."
Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarie, a Houthi military spokesman, tweeted early Monday that the rebels fired a new Quds-2 cruise missile at the facility. He posted a satellite image online that matched Aramco's North Jiddah Bulk Plant, where oil products are stored in tanks.
That facility is just southeast of Jiddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, a major airfield that handles incoming Muslim pilgrims en route to nearby Mecca.
Online videos appeared to show a tank farm similar to the bulk plant on fire, with wailing sirens heard and police cars alongside a highway by the facility. Details of the videos posted predawn Monday matched the general layout of the bulk plant.
A satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. later published by TankerTrackers.com appeared to show damage to one of the tanks at the bulk plant and what appeared to be fire-suppression foam on the ground near it.