LONDON (Dispatches) -- International benchmark Brent crude futures jumped above $70 for the first time in more than a year on Monday.
The surge in prices came after Saudi Arabia said its oil facilities were targeted by missiles and drones on Sunday. A Yemeni military spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Brent traded as high at $71.38 per barrel, the highest level since Jan. 2020, while U.S. crude futures rose to $67.98 per barrel, a level not seen since Oct. 2018.
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of energy said a petroleum tank farm at one of the world’s largest oil shipping ports was attacked by a drone and a ballistic missile targeted Saudi Aramco facilities, according to state news agency SPA.
Yahya Sare’e, a spokesman for Yemen’s armed forces, said the "broad joint offensive operation” involved 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles.
He said on Twitter that other military sites were also targeted with four drones and seven ballistic missiles, adding that "the hit was precise”.
"We promise the #Saudi regime painful operations as long as it continues its aggression and blockade on our country,” he said in another post.
Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 to bring back former president Mansur Hadi back to power, but far from achieving that goal, the kingdom has got stuck in a quagmire.
The Yemeni resistance forces have gone from strength to strength, launching retaliatory attacks inside Saudi Arabia, which has seen a hike in drones and missiles hitting its vital energy and military targets in recent weeks.
U.S. Urges Citizens in Saudi Arabia to ‘Stay Alert’
The U.S. Consulate General in Dhahran urged American citizens to take precautions in the event of an attack and "stay alert” in case of additional attacks.
It cited reports of possible missile attacks and explosions in the area of Dhahran, Dammam, and Khobar, saying "regional actors hostile to Saudi Arabia have conducted destructive and sometimes lethal attacks against a variety of targets”.
Sare’e said the attacks hit Aramco facilities and military sites in Asir province and the cities of Dammam and Jizan. He also said the Yemeni army shot down a Saudi reconnaissance plane over Yemen’s Jawf Province.
The attacks are the most serious against Saudi oil facilities since a September 2019 operation against a key processing facility and two fields.
The Sana’a government, which is run by the Ansarullah movement, says its attacks against Saudi targets are retaliatory and come in response to the continuous blockade and aggression on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
"We promise the Saudi regime painful operations as long as it continues its aggression and blockade on our country,” said Sare’e, who termed the attacks as "The Sixth Deterrence Balance Operation”.
Sana’a: Criminalize Saudi
War on Yemen
Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, called on the international community to criminalize the continuation of the Saudi-led siege and aggression against Yemen.
"We call on the international community to condemn the airstrikes of the American, British, Saudi, and Emirati forces of the coalition and
their allies,” al-Houthi wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
"We hold the aggressor states responsible for the crimes and the famine in Yemen,” he added.
Nearly six years into the Saudi war, more than 200,000 people have been killed, much of Yemen’s infrastructure has been destroyed and horrifying outbreaks of cholera and hunger bordering on famine are underway.
According to the UN, by mid-2020, Yemen had returned to alarming levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition, with some 24 million Yemenis in need of some form of assistance, and nearly 20 million teetering on the brink of starvation.
The United States has had a particularly big hand in the Yemen war from the beginning of the Saudi aggression. Back in 2018, then secretary of state Mike Pompeo shocked the world when he said the war coalition was "undertaking demonstrable actions” to reduce the risk of harm to civilians. He made the remarks only weeks after a Saudi strike hit a school bus and killed 40 children.
Sana’a Rejects U.S. Call for Unilateral End to War
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that U.S. President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen had met with officials from the Ansarullah movement in February.
"The discussions, which have not been officially made public by either side, took place in the Omani capital Muscat on February 26 between U.S. Yemen envoy Timothy Lenderking and the Houthis’ chief negotiator Muhammad Abdusalam,” Reuters reported.
A senior member of Ansarullah’s political bureau said Sunday the meeting had not been held directly but through a third party and an intermediary.
"The atmosphere in the meeting was also not positive because the Americans wanted a unilateral end to the war, which we rejected,” Muhammad al-Bukhaiti said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen.
Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up its bombings as Yemeni forces are pushing ahead with an offensive to liberate the strategic Ma’rib province from takfiri elements and militants loyal to Hadi.