One of the biggest travel, tourism and sports events in Saudi Arabia is about to start in the Gulf City of Jeddah on Monday. The Formula 1 race shows a clock of 15 hours from the start when this article was published.
Today near the race track the Yemeni Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a Saudi Aramco fuel depot.
There was an apparent explosion at a refinery near the racetrack, about 10 miles from Jeddah airport. The facilities were hit with missiles, while the Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries were targeted with drones.
The attack came as the city is welcoming international guests for its first ever Formula 1 (F1) race.
According to Yemeni militants, the attack’s purpose is to force Saudi Arabia to end its blockade of Yemen.
The strikes were announced as the third phase of the Houthis’ “Breaking of the Siege Operation” and was aimed at critical infrastructure, according to the group. The Ras Tanura refinery and Rabigh oil refinery were also hit with drones, the rebels said.
It was the second time an Aramco plant in Jeddah was hit within two weeks, and a number of other sites were recently targeted, including an Aramco distribution center at Jizan, a natural gas plant, and the Yasref refinery at Yanbu.
The blaze could be seen from the racetrack, where the city will host the iconic Grand Prix auto races from Friday through Sunday.
While the Arab Coalition has reported the strike on the Aramco facilities had no repercussions for public life in Jeddah, according to local media, flights into Jeddah and other nearby airports were postponed. The Saudi Foreign Ministry has warned the attack will likely impact oil distribution, presumably causing prices to spike still higher.