SANAA (Dispatches) -- Yemen said on Tuesday its forces have fired several ballistic missiles and 25 armed drones on Saudi Arabia, including at Aramco facilities in Jeddah and the defense ministry in Riyadh in retaliation.
Aramco, which has a petroleum products distribution plant in Jeddah that Yemen had previously targeted, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters said, signaling the allegation was true.
The spokesman of the Yemeni armed forces said Riyadh airport was also targeted.
Saudi Arabia claimed late on Monday that one ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the kingdom had been intercepted over Riyadh. Residents reported loud blasts across the Saudi capital.
In a series of tweets, Brigadier General Yahya Saree said the Yemeni raids – codenamed December 7th Operation – targeted military sites situated in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Jizan, Najran, and Asir.
He explained that six Sammad-3 drones and a number of Zulfiqar missiles targeted Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense, the King Khalid Airport, and other military targets in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh.
Six Sammad-2 and -3 drones also targeted King Fahd Air Base in Taif and Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah.
According to Saree, five Sammad-1 and -2 drones, as well as eight Qasef 2K drones and a large number of ballistic missiles targeted sensitive and important sites in Abha, Jizan, and Asir.
He stressed that the operation was conducted in response to Saudi crimes against the Yemeni people and the continued siege and war.
Yemeni forces, Saree pledged, “will carry out more military operations within their legitimate defense of the people and the country.”
Yemeni armed forces regularly target positions inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the bloody war, which the kingdom launched in March 2015 with arms and logistics support from the U.S. and several other Western countries.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia has appealed to the United States and its allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf for resupplies of ammunition it uses against retaliatory drone and missile attacks.
Riyadh has been using its Patriot surface-to-air missile system, the paper cited U.S. and Saudi officials as saying. But the kingdom’s stock of Patriot missiles to intercept aerial attacks has run dangerously low.
Though the U.S. is expected to approve the Saudi request for more Patriot interceptors, Saudi officials
told the Journal they are concerned that insufficient stocks could result in more successful missile or drone operations.
In 2019, a swarm of missiles and drones successfully evaded Saudi’s air defenses and temporarily knocked out half of the kingdom’s oil production.
U.S. and Saudi officials told the Journal that the kingdom was targeted by drones more than 50 times during October and November and hit by more than 20 ballistic missiles operations across the same period.
Tim Lenderking, the U.S. special envoy for Yemen, said last week that Yemeni forces have conducted about 375 cross-border operations inside Saudi Arabia this year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Riyadh is asking Washington for “hundreds more” Patriot interceptors manufactured by Raytheon Technologies Corp and that a direct sale is being considered by the State Department. The Journal said the kingdom has also approached European allies and Qatar about transferring Patriot interceptors to its arsenal, but such a deal would require approval from the U.S., two officials told the newspaper.
“We are working closely with the Saudis and other partner countries to ensure there is no gap in coverage,” said a senior U.S. administration official in statement to the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. and other allies have a keen interest in protecting Saudi Arabia’s fossil fuel infrastructure. Though the U.S. is the world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabia has the lowest production costs on the planet and its output swings can dramatically impact global oil prices – and by extension what Americans pay at the pump for gasoline.