Fire in Saudi city ahead of F1 race as Houthis claim attack

The fire began on Friday and Yemen's Houthis rebels have acknowledged their part to play in the blaze. Credit: AP

A fire erupted on Friday at an oil depot in Jiddah, a Saudian Arabian port city.

Yemen's Houthis rebels acknowledged their part to play in the attack, which coincided with the beginning of the The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The attacks come as Saudi Arabia continues to lead a coalition battling the Iran-backed Houthis, who seized Yemen's capital of Sanaa in September 2014.

At the time of the fire, Saudi Arabia and its state run oil organisation Saudi Aramco did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

It appeared to be on the same fuel depot that the Houthis had attacked in recent days.

Saudia Arabia entered into a war in Yemen in 2015, and has been internationally criticised for its airstrikes which have killed scores of civilians.

Black cloud of smoke in the distance Credit: AP

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.

Those at the F1 track could see the large black smoke cloud in the distance. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

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

The F1 did not elaborate.

However, the al-Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemen's Houthi rebels said more details would be released later about their attacks.

The Houthis did not immediately claim they were behind the Jiddah fire on Friday.Another attack targeted an electrical substation in an area of southwestern 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 supplies fuel crucial to running a regional desalination plant.