A high-ranking Houthi military official speaking on condition of anonymity has confirmed to MintPress that Houthi forces successfully launched a major operation against a strategic economic target in Saudi Arabia. The operation, which saw seven unmanned drones carry out an attack on two oil pumping stations, came in retaliation for Saudi attacks on civilians as well as renewed Saudi-led Coalition attacks on Hodeida following a recent Houthi withdrawal.
This week at least 13 civilians, including women and children, were killed and more than 10 others sustained injuries after Saudi-led warplanes carried out airstrikes on a truck loaded with fruit in Sada`a and a separate spate of airstrikes hit heavily populated areas in Dhale.
The source said that Yemen’s Air Force, loyal to the Houthis, carried out the operation on vital Saudi oil installations in the provinces of Dawadmi and Afif near the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The operation targeted the two pumping stations on Saudi Arabia’s main East-West pipeline that connects the Red Sea port city of Yanbu to the Kingdom’s eastern oilfields. The 750-mile-long pipeline reportedly has a capacity of at least 5 million barrels per day.
The attack came after intelligence gathering operations and with cooperation from allied locals, according to the Houthi source, who said that Houthi forces will be able to carry out larger operations in the heart of Saudi-led Coalition countries if escalating Saudi attacks on Yemen continue, and the Coalition refuses to implement the UN-brokered Stockholm agreement in Hodeida.
Saudi Arabia has confirmed the attacks, saying the Kingdom has stopped pumping crude oil on a major pipeline across the country after retaliatory drone strikes carried out by Yemeni forces. Ansar Allah’s spokesman, Mohammed Abdusalam, said that the attacks were a response to the aggressors continuing to commit genocide against the Yemeni people.
The Saudi energy minister, Khalid A. Al-Falih, said the Saudi state-owned petroleum and natural gas company, Saudi Aramco, on Tuesday halted oil pumping on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea, while the damage was being evaluated and its two targeted pumping stations were being repaired.
“Saudi Aramco took precautionary measures and temporarily stopped operation of the pipeline, as it is evaluating the situation and working on restoring the operations of the affected pump station and the pipeline,” Al-Falih said in a statement published by state news agency SPA.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sarie, the spokesman for the Houthi-allied Yemeni army, said that the operation was in response to “the continued aggression and blockade of our people, and we are prepared to carry out more unique and harsh strikes.”
Houthis maintain deep-strike drone capacity
In early January, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it had effectively destroyed a major communications and control center used by Houthi forces to direct drones attacks, but the latest attack on Saudi pipelines shows that the Saudi strikes did not undermine the Houthis ability to strike deep inside of Saudi territory, a fact confirmed by a number of Houthi officials to MintPress News.
Houthi forces have upgraded the precision of their armed drones considerably, allowing them to travel more than 900 miles at a speed of 150 mph, covering much of the Arabian Gulf, including the Saudi and Emirati capitals.
High-ranking sources in Yemen’s Houthi-allied navy and Yemen’s air force, speaking on condition of anonymity, told MintPress that Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s vital strategic targets are all within the range of fire and that they should expect more attacks on their oil infrastructure should the Saudi-led Coalition continue its aggression and siege on the Yemeni people.
Feature photo | A man photographs a Houthi Qasef-1 drone. The Qasef-1 explodes on impact with its target and has been used heavily against the Saudi-led Coalition. Photo | CAR
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.