Saudi Arabia Announces ‘Military Operation’ in Yemen After Missile Strike

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim attack on Saudi Deposit kilometres away from prized Formula 1 race.

Missile Attack

The Houthi rebels based in Yemen have claimed responsibility for a rocket strike on an oil deposit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that took place Friday evening. The deposit was about 10 kilometers away from the annual Formula 1 race Saudi Arabia was hosting this past weekend. The F1 race which many around the world described as a smoke screen to hide the human rights shortcomings of the Kingdom, was an opportune time for a high-profile attack from the rebel group. The attack took place on the eve of the Saudi Arabian grand prix while cars were practicing on the track. Many drivers including current world champion Max Verstappen communicated to their team via radio that they thought there may have been an issue with their own cars as they smelt smoke while they were out on track. Verstappen specifically got on the radio and said, “I smell a bit of a burning feeling. I’m not sure if it’s my car of another car”.

The Houthi organization took over Sana’a, the capital of Yemen in 2014. Their goals include economic development and the need to ‘defend their community against discrimination” and gain the sovereignty of the Houthi majority in Yemen.

Military Operation?

This weekend Saudi state media announced a ‘military operation’ in order to “protect global energy stores” and make sure the Houthis feel the consequences of their “hostile behavior”. This is the second time that the Houthis have attacked that same oil deposit in the last 18 months the first incident happening in November 2020. Within 24 hours of the announcement retaliation came when a Saudi led coalition attacked the cities of Sana’a and Hodeida. Reportedly at least 7 people have been killed and the targets were said to be a power plant, social insurance building, and a fuel supply station. Attacks are set to continue throughout the next week unless a ceasefire can be negotiated.

Potential Cease Fire

After the attacks the Houthi leader Mahdi al-Mashat said there his group would suspend missile and drone attacks for 3 days and added he would hope for a potential cease fire: “we are ready to turn this declaration into a final and permanent commitment in the event that Saudi Arabia commits to ending the siege and stopping its raids on Yemen once and for all,”.  However, that sentiment seems to be a one-way street as hours after the announcement the coalition led more air strikes on the Houthi strongholds in Sana’a.