The Houthis (Ansar Allah) has claimed responsibility for a drone attack that targeted a large oil refinery near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
In a statement released on March 11, Maj. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the group, revealed that the attack on the refinery was a part of a large-scale operation, dubbed “Breaking the Siege 1”. The spokesman said that the operation was carried out in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on the Yemeni oil sector.
During the operation, the Riyadh refinery, which is owned by Saudi Aramco, was targeted with three Samad-3 suicide drones. Six other suicide drones of the Samad-1 type targeted other facilities of Aramco near the southern Saudi cities of Jizan and Abha.
The Samad-1 and 3 are both versions of the Iranian KAS-04 drone. The Samad-1 has a range of 500 kilometers, while the Samad-3 has a range of over 1,500 kilometers.
“The armed forces, within the right to respond to aggression and siege, pledged to the people of faith, patience and jihad [in Yemen] that they would not hesitate to legitimately respond to the unjust siege [of the Saudi-led coalition],” Maj. Gen. Sari said in his statement.
Saudi Arabia acknowledged that the Riyadh refinery was hit by at least one suicide drone on March 10, saying that the attack resulted in some material losses only. The Kingdom also claimed that its air defenses intercepted a suicide drone over the southern province of Jizan on March 9.
Operation Breaking the Siege 1 confirms that the Houthis’ offensive capabilities were not affected by the Saudi-led coalition’s recent bombardment campaign, which targeted almost all Houthi-held areas in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition will likely respond to the operation very soon to deter the Houthis. However, any harsh response could in fact further provoke the group.