On November 5, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) announced that they had attacked several targets in central, western and southern Saudi Arabia as a part of a large-scale operation.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, revealed in a statement that a total of 14 suicide drones were launched in the course of the operation that was codenamed “Deterrent Balance 8”.
According to the spokesman’s statement:
- King Khalid International Airport near the Saudi capital Riyadh in the Kingdom’s central region was targeted with four Samad-3 suicide drones.
- King Abdulaziz International Airport in the city of Jeddah and a number of nearby oil refineries of Aramco in the western Saudi province of Mecca were targeted with four Samad-2 suicide drones.
- An unidentified military target in Abha International Airport in the southern Saudi province of ‘Asir was targeted with a Samad-3 drone.
- Several military targets in ‘Asir and the nearby provinces of Jizan and Najran were targeted with five Qasef-2K suicide drones.
Brig. Gen. Sari stressed that the Houthis can and will carry out more large attacks in order to protect Yemen and its people.
“The armed forces, with the help of God Almighty, will face escalation with escalation until the aggression stops and the siege is lifted, and God is a witness to what we say,” the spokesman said in his statement.
Two days earlier, the Houthis warned Saudi Arabia that it will face “serious consequences” as a result of its recent internes airstrikes on Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition played down the Houthis’ large-scale operation, claiming that three of suicide drones were shot down and that the group failed to launch two ballistic missiles. These claims are yet to be verified.
In response to the operation, Saudi-led coalition warplanes destroyed 13 targets of the Houthis in different parts of Yemen. According to the coalition’s claims, the targets included weapons depots, air-defense systems, communication systems and drones’ equipment.
Operation Deterrent Balance 8 is the most recent in a series of large-scale missile and drone attacks by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 1 targeted the Shaybah super-giant oil field in southeast Saudi Arabia on 17 August 2019.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 2 targeted two strategic oil facilities in the eastern Saudi areas of Buqayq and Khurais on 14 September 2019.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 3 targeted an oil facility of Aramco as well as sensitive targets in the western Saudi city of Yanbu on 21 February 2020.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 4 targeted the headquarters of the Saudi Defense Ministry, intelligence facilities, King Salman Air Base and other positions in Riyadh as well as in Jizan and Najran on 23 June 2020.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 5 targeted military sites in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as well as in the Kingdom’s southern cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait on 28 February 2021.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 6 targeted Ras Tanura oil port and an unspecified target in the nearby city of Dammam as well as several targets in both Jizan and ‘Asir on 7 March 2021.
- Operation Deterrent Balance 7 targeted oil facilities of Aramco at Ras Tanura port, the western Saudi province of Makkah as well as in Jizan and Najran on 5 September 2021.
As suggested by their codename, these large-scale operations are meant to deter the Saudi-led coalition and pressure the Kingdom into ending its war on Yemen.