August 26, 2019
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Saudi Arabia says 2 oil pumping stations hit by alleged Houthi drones

 An image showing a gas flame behind pipelines in the desert at Khurais oil field, about 160 km from Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 23, 2008. EPA-EFE/FILE/ALI HAIDER

An image showing a gas flame behind pipelines in the desert at Khurais oil field, about 160 km from Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 23, 2008. EPA-EFE/FILE/ALI HAIDER

Riyadh, May 14 (efe-epa).- Yemeni Houthi assailants used explosive-laden airborne drones to attack Saudi Arabian pumping stations on an east-west oil pipeline which belongs to state company Aramco, authorities said Tuesday.

The attack took place at two stations near Afif and Dawadimi on the pipeline that carries petroleum from oilfields in the country's east to the Red Sea port of Yanbu,Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources said through the official SPA news agency.

"Recent attacks in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia are aimed at the world, not just the Kingdom," Al-Falih said, blaming it on Houthis rebels, an insurgent group in neighboring Yemen currently locked into a brutal civil war with the Saudi and internationally-backed government.

"This attack proves yet again the importance that all sides stand against such destructive terror attacks, including the Iran-backed Houthis militants," he said.

Al-Falih added that the assault caused a fire to break out at pumping station number 8 but that the flames were brought under control and the damage was limited.

Aramco said it temporarily halted operations.

Houthi attacks against Saudi infrastructure have become a common side-effect of the ongoing war where the Houthis, whose fighters control swathes of land eastern Yemen, including the capital, Sana'a, are fighting against the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Hadi receives the military backing of Saudi Arabia and regional allies like the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of backing the Houthi movement.

However, the latest attack comes during a period of escalating tensions in the Gulf region following the alleged sabotage over the weekend of at least two tankers in UAE territory.

The United States, an ally of Saudi Arabia, has warned Iran that it would respond to any provocative actions in the region.

Washington also said it was sending military forces, including the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to bolster its presence in the region.

The US and Iran have been at loggerheads over the 2015 Nuclear Accord, which saw Tehran swap much of its nuclear program in for alleviated economic sanctions.

President Donald Trump's administration, which had been steadfastly opposed to the deal, pulled out of it in May 2018.

Marking that decision a year later, Iran's Hassan Rouhani said he would partially withdraw from the deal.EFE-EPA

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