Middle East/North Africa

Fire breaks out at Aramco oil facility miles from F1 practice

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A fire broke out Friday at a Saudi Arabian oil facility located in Jeddah, miles away from practice for a Formula One race that is slated to take place over the weekend.

The Yemeni Houthi rebels, an Iran-backed group in control of Yemen’s capital of Sanaa, claimed that they had launched attacks on Saudi Arabia, including at a fuel depot in Jeddah, which may have resulted in the fire, The Associated Press reported.

The Houthis made the claim through the al-Masirah news channel run by the group, which provided no further details beyond the targets they said they had attacked, according to the AP.

The fire flared up in the area of the same oil depot that the Houthis attacked at the beginning of the week.

Black smoke rising from the fire could be seen by spectators at the nearby F1 track, where cars were taking practice laps in advance of the Saudi Grand Prix this weekend, according to Motor Sport.

“We are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened,” an F1 spokesman said to the outlet.

The Saudi government and state-run oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, did not immediately say anything about the fire, according to the AP.

Saudi state television reported on attacks on Dhahran, a town which is on the eastern side of the country, while Jeddah is in the west, according to the AP. Those attacks targeted water tanks  and resulted in damage to homes and vehicles.

An electrical substation near the Saudi-Yemeni border was also hit by an attack, according to state television, per the wire service.

The North Jeddah Bulk Plant, where the oil facility fire seemed to have erupted, is located near the city’s airport. The plant houses over a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s fuel supplies, including diesel, gasoline and jet fuel, as well as supplying fuel used to run a nearby desalination plant, according to the AP.

Tags F1 Formula One Houthis Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Saudi Aramco Saudi Grand Prix
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