Sat, 20 Jul 2019

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], May 14 (ANI): Saudi authorities here on Tuesday said that Houthi-led "armed drones" attacked two oil pumping stations amid reports of escalating tensions in the Middle East.

The drone strikes, which Riyadh termed a "cowardly" act by Yemen's Houthi rebels, caused minor damage to one of the stations supplying a pipeline running from its oil-rich eastern province to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement cited by AL Jazeera.

"These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran," Falih was quoted as saying.

Falih added that the fire break out was brought under control, but the country's state-run oil giant Aramco has stopped pumping oil through the pipeline.

Falih said the recent sabotage acts not only target Saudi Arabia but also affect the safety of the world's energy supply and global economy. The minister further promised that the production and export of Saudi oil would not be interrupted.

However, oil prices in the United States rose to 1.4 per cent even though Saudi Aramco told CNN that the attack caused "no damage to oil production, no oil spills or injuries." Brent crude, the global benchmark, jumped to 1.6 per cent.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree has said that seven drones carried out the strikes on the Saudi oil installations.

"It was a successful operation. We found assistance from people living in Saudi Arabia, and we had excellent intelligence," Saree added.

Earlier on Tuesday, a television station run by Yemen's Houthi rebels said it launched drone attacks on Saudi installations, without identifying the targets or time of the attacks.

The attacks also occurred amid a war of words between the United States and Iran over sanctions and the growing American military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The drone attacks come a day after Riyadh said two of its oil tankers were among four vessels sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday. However, Tehran has denied any involvement in the Sunday describing it as "worrisome and dreadful".

A US official on Tuesday confirmed Al Jazeera that the US military has lodged an investigation into the alleged sabotage attacks on Sunday. (ANI)

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