The Saudi-led coalition says an Aramco petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was targeted by an attack, but that a fire in two tanks at the oil facility had been brought under control.
Yemen's Houthi rebels have attacked an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jeddah ahead of a Formula One race in the kingdom — their highest-profile assault yet that threatened to disrupt the upcoming grand prix.
Friday's attack targeted the same fuel depot that the Houthis had attacked in recent days, the North Jeddah Bulk Plant that sits just southeast of the city’s international airport and is a crucial hub for Muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca.
Brigadier general Turki al Malki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the fire damaged two tanks and was put out without injuries.
"This hostile escalation targets oil facilities and aims to undermine energy security and the backbone of global economy," Malki said, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
"These hostile attacks had no impact or repercussions in any way, shape or form on public life in Jeddah."
The Saudi Arabian Oil Co, known as Saudi Aramco, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Saudi authorities acknowledged a “hostile operation” by the Houthis targeting the depot, without describing the weapon used in the attack.
The Al Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels later claimed they had attacked an Aramco facility in Jeddah, along with other targets in Riyadh and elsewhere.
BREAKING: Houthi missile attack reported in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/k0GTvbHMLL— Conflict News (@Conflicts) March 25, 2022
F1 safety concerns
The second-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah is taking place on Sunday, though concerns had been raised by some over the recent attacks targeting the kingdom.
An Associated Press photojournalist covering practice laps at the F1 track in Jeddah saw the smoke rising in the distance to the east, just after 5:40 pm local (1440 GMT).
Drivers raced on into the evening even as the fire burned.
The F1 said in a statement, “The position at the moment is that we are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened.” The F1 did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, Saudi state TV acknowledged attacks in the town of Dhahran targeting water tanks that damaged vehicles and homes.
Another attack targeted an electrical substation in an area of southwestern Saudi Arabia near the Yemeni border, state TV said.