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Yemeni rebels claim missile attack on Saudi oil facility as G-20 summit ends

Yemenis bury the body of a Houthi fighter who allegedly was killed in recent fighting with Saudi-backed government forces, during a funeral procession at a cemetery in Sanaa, Yemen, on Saturday. (Yahya Arhab/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
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CAIRO — Yemeni rebels on Monday said they fired a missile that hit a Saudi oil storage facility in the Red Sea port of Jiddah, claiming that it was in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition's involvement in Yemen's war.

The assault came hours after the kingdom finished hosting its virtual Group of 20 summit of world leaders.

There was no immediate response from Saudi officials, even as videos and images posted on social media indicated a fire burning at a Saudi Aramco complex in Jiddah.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sarea, the spokesman for Yemen’s northern Houthi rebels, said in a tweet Monday morning that “with God’s help and support, the missile force was able to target the Aramco distribution station.” He added that the projectile was a new “winged missile” called the “Quds 2” and had recently become operational.

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In his tweet, Sarea added a satellite image of what appeared to be the oil storage tanks at the Aramco facility in north Jiddah, along with markers to indicate where the cruise missile struck. “Thanks to God, the injury was very accurate, and ambulances and firefighting vehicles rushed to the targeted place.”

On Monday night, A Saudi official quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency confirmed the attack, describing the fire at the facility as caused by “a terrorist attack with a projectile.” The official added that there were no casualties and no disruption in the supply of fuel by Saudi Aramco.

The attack followed a meeting on Sunday between outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea city of Neom. The strike also comes as the Trump administration is taking measures to label the Iran-aligned Houthis as a foreign terrorist group in an effort to apply pressure on Iran and its allies

An American-backed coalition of regional Sunni powers, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has been fighting the Shiite Houthis since 2015. The coalition is seeking to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government and prevent the spread of Iranian influence in the region.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed, mostly by coalition airstrikes, according to the United Nations and rights groups. Meanwhile, what the United ­Nations considers the world’s ­severest humanitarian crisis has gripped the Middle East’s poorest nation for years, bringing millions to the edge of famine.

For more than a year, the Houthis have staged numerous missile and drone attacks on Saudi soil, targeting oil facilities and other strategic areas.

In a second tweet on Monday, Sarea said that “our operations are continuing” and warned Saudis and foreign companies operating in the kingdom to “stay away from vital installations.”

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