Yemen's Houthi rebels claim attack on Saudi oil facility

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SANAA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi rebels said on Wednesday that they launched attacks on a facility of Saudi oil giant Aramco in the southwestern port city of Jizan in response to "the Saudi-led coalition's escalating airstrikes."

"In response to the aggressor's escalating airstrikes, our missile and drone forces launched attacks targeting Aramco in the Saudi region of Jizan," the Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a statement carried by the Houthi-run al-Masirah television.

"Our missile and drone forces also launched attacks on Saudi airports in the cities of Jizan, Abha and Khamis Mushait," he said, without specifying the time of alleged attacks.

Saudi Arabia has made no comment yet.

Last September, the Houthis said they would halt cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led coalition halts airstrikes on Yemen.

This promise came after a deadly assault claimed by the Houthis on Saudi Aramco's facilities that temporarily cut half of the Saudi oil output. The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attack while Tehran denied any involvement.

In the past two weeks, the Houthi rebels captured large strategic areas expanding from Nehm district, north of the capital Sanaa, to Serwah town in the central province of Marib to Baraqish town in Jawf Province near the Saudi border after deadly battles against the Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led military coalition, according to official sources from both sides.

The UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has called on all Yemeni parties "to cease all military activities," warning that such escalation could fail the fragile peace process.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country's north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa. Enditem

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