Missile intercepted over Saudi oil region injures two, damages buildings

DUBAI, Sept. 4 (Reuters) – Two children were injured and buildings were damaged when a ballistic missile was intercepted over the oil-rich eastern region of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the Defense Ministry said.

The rocket was intercepted over a suburb of the city of Dammam, with scattered shrapnel injuring two Saudi children and slightly damaging 14 houses, according to a statement by state news agency SPA.

Photos in state media showed broken glass and damaged entrances to some residential buildings.

The coalition blamed the Houthi troops, allied with Iran, for the attack. There was no direct claim to responsibility in the Houthi-led media.

The coalition also said it intercepted and destroyed ballistic missiles targeted at Jazan and Najran in the south of the country. It had previously reported the interception of three explosive-laden drones heading for the kingdom.

There is significant oil infrastructure in eastern Saudi Arabia that was previously the target of air strikes. An attack on two Aramco plants in the east in September 2019 temporarily paralyzed the country’s oil production.

The Houthis in Yemen, who regularly fire drones and missiles into the kingdom, have avowed multiple attacks on Saudi oil facilities in the past.

A source familiar with the matter said there was no impact on facilities owned by the state-controlled oil giant Saudi Aramco and the attack occurred outside of Aramco’s facilities.

“The Ministry of Defense will take the necessary and dissuasive measures to protect its country and its capabilities and to stop such hostile and cross-border attacks for the protection of the civilian population in accordance with international humanitarian law,” the ministry said.

The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 and supported the armed forces of the overthrown government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the fight against the Houthis.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Saeed Azhar; Additional reporting from Nayera Abdallah in Cairo; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Alistair Bell and Tom Hogue

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