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Saudi Arabia oil facilities set on fire by Houhti drone attacks

15th Sep 2019
Saudi Arabia oil facilities set on fire by Houhti drone attacks

By Hussein Mahmoud Ragab Elkabany and Ali Semerci

AA: On Saturday, the official Saudi Press Agency reported the blazes at the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities. Abqaiq is home to the state-owned, Saudi Aramco’s largest oil processing plant.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency.

Spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree confirmed in a statement on Saturday attacks by 10 drones on two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco in the country’s East.

“The drone fleet targeted Abqaiq and Khurais oil refineries of Aramco company in Eastern Saudi Arabia,” the statement said in the statement read out on al-Masirah news channel.

He also vowed to widen the range of attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition battling them in neighboring Yemen.

“These attacks are our right, and we warn the Saudis that our targets will keep expanding,” Saree said.

“We have the right to strike back in retaliation for the air strikes and the targeting of our civilians for the last five years,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has announced to stop oil production temporary, from its two oil facilities run by the Saudi Aramco, following drone attacks.

Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said on early Sunday that oil production is being temporarily halted from the two major facilities, owned by Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant.

However, the U.S. has blamed Iran for coordinating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities.

The U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described drone strikes, marking an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia, while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack, on the world’s energy supply,” said Pompeo on Twitter.

Pompeo also said that there was no evidence to suggest that the attacks came from the war-ravaged Yemen.

Iran has warned the U.S. that its bases and aircraft carriers are within range of its missiles after Tehran was blamed for drone attacks on two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia.

A commander in Iran’s revolutionary guard hit back on Sunday, warning that U.S. bases within 2,000 kilometres of the country were “within range of our missiles”. He was also quoted as saying that Iran “has already been ready for a fully-fledged war.”

The Arab countries on Sunday condemned drone strikes on two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia.

Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and the Arab League expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia, while condemning the attack.

Egypt and the UAE described the attacks as “acts of terrorism “and called for preserving security of the country.

Kuwait urged the international community, to redouble efforts to combat such attacks.

Pakistan, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have also issued statements, affirming their support to Saudi Arabia, while strongly condemned the attack.

The Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joined voices condemning the drone attack on Saudi oil facilities.

The General Secretariat of the Arab Foreign Ministers’ Council and the Arab Parliament expressed need, to take a firm stand against such attacks aimed to cripple backbone of Saudi economy.

Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the drone attacks on two facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco.

In a statement, the ministry said it condemned the drone attacks of Saturday, which led to fire in the facilities located southwest of the Dhahran metropolitan area.

Turkey called on the regional countries to refrain from provocations that might damage the security and stability in the Gulf region.

The Iran-backed Houthis, whose medium and long-range ballistic missiles are usually intercepted and neutralized by the Saudi air defense system, have targeted certain strategic locations of Saudi Arabia with armed drones.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi group overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.

The conflict escalated the following year, when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains to support the country’s pro-Saudi government.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the raging conflict since 2016, according to the UN estimates.

In addition, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes seeking to support the government have led to death of thousands of civilians in the war-ravaged country since 2015.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map of Saudi Arabia. Creative Commons]

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