Published: Wed, March 10, 2021

Saudi Arabia to lift most coronavirus-related curbs on Sunday - SPA

Saudi Arabia to lift most coronavirus-related curbs on Sunday - SPA

A Saudi-led military coalition launched air strikes against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen on Sunday, saying it had intercepted a series of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi defence ministry said it had intercepted a drone targeting a petroleum storage yard at Ras Tanura - one of the world's biggest oil ports - and a ballistic missile aimed at Aramco facilities in Dhahran city in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi energy ministry later confirmed the strike, saying that the oil port at Ras Tanura was attacked with a drone but there were no casualties or property loss.

The Foreign Ministry praised the competence and willingness of the coalition forces in support of legitimacy in Yemen who were able to intercept and shoot down these aircraft and reiterated Bahrain's stance towards Saudi Arabia against anyone trying to destabilize its security and stability and territorial Integrity by calling on the global community to take their responsibility in condemning the crimes committed by the Houthi group. The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The strikes triggered huge explosions in Sanaa and sent plumes of smoke rising in the sky, according to an AFP correspondent and photographer at the scene.

The Ministry of Energy denounced the strike as "an act of sabotage" targeting not only Saudi Arabia "but also the security and stability of energy supplies to the world".

Yemen's Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis, has downed a Saudi Air Force Karayel reconnaissance plane, built by Turkey, the movement's Al-Masirah TV channel said Sunday. The U.S. mission in Saudi Arabia issued an advisory, citing reports of possible missile attacks and explosions on Sunday evening in the tri-city area of Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.

The coalition said the Houthis were encouraged by a decision of President Joe Biden's administration last month to remove them form the U.S.'s terror list. There was no acknowledgement from Saudi Arabia, and the rebels did not provide evidence to support their claim. The designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization was announced in the waning days of former President Donald Trump's administration, and caused widespread outcry from the United Nations and humanitarian groups working in Yemen.

Smoke rises after Saudi-led airstrikes on an army base in Sanaa, Yemen, Mar. 7, 2021. "We are witnessing another unacceptable increase in civilian casualties in the city of Taiz", said Xavier Joubert, the group's Yemen director.

The United States last month delisted the Houthi as terrorists and stepped up efforts to resolve the six-year war.

The military alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from power in the capital, Sanaa.

The coalition said the drones were aimed at "civilian" targets in Saudi Arabia, SPA reported, without specifying the locations.

The stalemated war was has killed around 130,000 people, including more than 12,000 civilians, pushed millions to the brink of starvation and spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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