Ahead of Mideast tour, Blinken condemns Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia

Blinken’s tour includes Israel, Ramallah, Morocco, Algeria.

Ahead of Mideast tour, Blinken condemns Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday condemned Houthi rebel attacks on Saudi Arabia, ahead of a planned visit to the Middle East region.

Houthi rebels in Yemen on Friday claimed drone and missile attacks on Saudi energy facilities. One of the attacks targeted an oil storage of Saudi oil company Aramco, causing a fire in two storage tanks.

“We strongly condemn the latest Houthi terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia, including today’s that struck Aramco’s civilian infrastructure,” Blinken said on Twitter.

“Ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, the Houthis continue their destructive behavior. Yemenis need parties to halt hostilities, and need relief,” he added.

Following the rebel attacks, the Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation in Yemen, including rebel-held capital Sanaa and the Red Sea port city of al-Hudaydah.

The coalition said in a statement that the operation aims to stop attacks on Saudi oil facilities and “protect global energy sources”.

Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Israel later Saturday as part of a regional tour that also includes the West Bank city of Ramallah, Morocco and Algeria.

A State Department statement said Blinken’s talks during the tour will focus on "the Russian government's war on Ukraine, Iran's destabilizing activities, the Abraham Accords and normalization agreements with Israel, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and preserving the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthis since 2015, one year after the Iran-aligned rebels overran much of Yemen, including Sanaa.

The eight-year conflict has created one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% of the country, or about 30 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million are in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.