A TERRORIST attack has rocked the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix just miles away from the Jeddah circuit.
The incident comes just days after a petroleum depot was attacked by rebels.
Black smoke could be seen from the Jeddah circuit following a terrorist attackCredit: Reuters
Flames lit up the sky after nightfall in the cityCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The facility was consumed by flames after being hitCredit: AFP
A huge explosion has occurred in Jeddah ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix
Friday’s incident comes days after a petroleum depot was attacked by rebelsCredit: AP
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels who have been battling the Saudi-backed government.
Formula One chiefs subsequently said they will be monitoring the situation but later confirmed the race would go ahead.
Practice was delayed by 15 minutes after drivers were called into a meeting with Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali regarding the terror attack.
Black smoke could be seen in the sky near the circuit, as videos on social media showed the Aramco facility nearby engulfed in flames.
The attack has occurred just 12 miles away from the race track.
As a result of the explosion, flights from Jeddah are being held at sea or diverted.
According to World News IL, the explosion was due to an attack from rebels.
They tweeted: “A few minutes ago, the Houthis attacked Jeddah and hit Aramco’s petroleum facilities in Jeddah, west Saudi Arabia.
“A loud explosion was heard and a fire broke out.”
And Arab News have stated that Saudi Arabia’s air defence have destroyed seven drones and a missile launched by Houthi militia.
The Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.
That prompted a Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, to intervene against the Iran-backed Houthis.
In January, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a kamikaze drone attack on Abu Dhabi, which killed three people.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia said drones armed with explosives flown by Iranian backed rebels in Yemen struck two oil pumping stations.
Saudi Arabia has been internationally criticised for its airstrikes killing that have killed scores of civilians.
The Houthis have used this a justification for launching drones, missiles and mortars into the kingdom.
A statement from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen read: “The hostile attempts by the Houthi militia deliberately target civilian areas, energy installations.
“We support the Gulf and international community in achieving successful negotiations with Yemen.”
“The continued attacks by the Houthis threaten both regional and international security.
Arab News have also declared that the the Al-Masirah satellite news channel run – which is run by Yemen’s Houthi militia – have insisted more details about their attacks would be released later.
The Iran-backed Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility for the Jeddah attack on Friday.
Meanwhile, Saudi state television acknowledged attacks in the town of Dhahran targeting water tanks that damaged vehicles and homes.
Another attack targeted an electrical substation in an area of southwestern Saudi Arabia near the Yemeni border, state TV said.
Commenting on the situation, the F1 said: “The position at the moment is that we are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened.”
Such was the magnitude of the explosion, Red Bull star Max Verstappen asked his team if his car was on fire.
Unaware of the chaos just miles from the circuit, a panicked Verstappen radioed his team to ask if there was an issue with his Red Bull after smelling smoke.
The reigning F1 world champion asked: “I can smell burning.. is it my car?”
To which Red Bull declared the smell and smoke was not due to a fault in their car.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has condemned the attack from rebelsCredit: AP