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Saudi Aramco facilities reportedly targeted by Houthi missile bombardment

Highlights

Aramco facilities at Ras Tanura targeted, Houthis say

Saudi Arabia and its oil facilities frequent target for Houthi attacks

Saudi Air Force earlier conducted airstrikes on targets in Sanaa

Dubai — Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi militia have further heightened as Saudi Arabia was bombarded with several missiles on March 7, targeting both its Red Sea coast and Eastern Province, including Saudi Aramco facilities, according to reports.

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The US embassy in Saudi Arabia noted reports of missile attacks and explosions in the Eastern Province's tri-city area of Dhahran, Damman and Khobar, where Saudi Aramco is headquartered.

At 5:19 pm local time (1419 GMT), the official Saudi Press Agency issued a statement saying the Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepted Houthi attacks before they were able to impact the intended targets.

However, the airborne bombardment reportedly continued into the evening, with several social media accounts sharing videos appearing to show airborne and ignited missiles after dark.

Saudi Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The state oil giant has been a frequent target for Houthi attacks, which have escalated in recent months, under a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are on opposing sides of the Yemen's civil war.

The most notable occurred in September 19, when Aramco's critical Abqaiq crude processing plant and Khurais oil field were hit, temporarily knocking out 5.7 million b/d of production -- almost 6% of global crude demand -- throwing the oil market into disarray. However, it took just 10 days for Aramco to carry out sufficient repairs for the company's total output to recover to 10 million b/d.

More recently, on March 4, Saudi Arabia was subject to several missile attacks, with Houthis claiming they had managed to hit Aramco oil facilities in Jeddah.

Brigadier General Yahya Sarea, the spokesperson for the Houthi rebels, said in a tweet at 1700 GMT that there would be "an important statement for the armed forces in the coming hours to announce a large military operation in the depths of Saudi Arabia."

At a press conference 90 minutes later, Houthi forces said they had launched 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles, which targeted Aramco facilities in Ras Tanura and military targets in Damman, Asir and Jazan, according to media reports. Saudi Arabia has not confirmed the attacks.

Earlier on March 7, the Saudi-led coalition undertook airstrikes on what it said were Houthi military sites in Sanaa and several other provinces, which it claims is in accordance with international law, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television channel reported.

"The targeting of civilians and civilian facilities is a red line," Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the coalition, was quoted as saying by SPA.