Fire rages at oil depot in Saudi city hosting F1 race

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have acknowledged attacking the kingdom in recent days.

Fire rages at oil depot in Saudi city hosting F1 race

A fire is raging at an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jiddah ahead of a Formula One race there.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have acknowledged attacking the kingdom.

Online videos showing the blaze were published as practice in the Grand Prix continued despite a large black smoke cloud in the distance.

Saudi F1 GP Auto Racing
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his car during practice at the Formula One Grand Prix (Hassan Ammar/AP)

The kingdom, which entered the war in Yemen in 2015, has been internationally criticised for its air strikes that have killed scores of civilians — something the Houthis point to as they launch drones, missiles and mortars into the kingdom.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but it comes days after a similar attack on a Jiddah oil depot.

The al-Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels said more details would be released later about their attacks while not immediately claiming the Houthis were behind the Jiddah fire.

The North Jiddah Bulk Plant run by Saudi Aramco sits just south east of the city’s international airport, a crucial hub for Muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca.

Saudi Arabia
A cloud of smoke rises from the oil depot (Hassan Ammar/AP)

Another attack targeted an electrical substation in an area of south-western Saudi Arabia near the Yemeni border, state TV said.

The North Jiddah Bulk Plant stores diesel, gasoline and jet fuel for use in Jiddah, the kingdom’s second-largest city.

It accounts for over a quarter of all of Saudi Arabia’s supplies and also provides fuel crucial to running a regional desalination plant.

The second-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jiddah is taking place on Sunday, though concerns had been raised by some over the recent attacks targeting the kingdom.

An F1 spokesman said: “The position at the moment is that we are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened.”

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