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US blames Iran for 'unprecedented' attack on Saudi oil facilities

Ramadan Al-Fatash and Eliyahu Kamisher, DPA on

Published in News & Features

CAIRO -- The U.S. said Iran was behind an attack on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in an incident that has escalated already high tension in the gulf region and raised concern over global oil supplies.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Tehran for the attack calling it an "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" and refuted a claim of responsibility from the Iran-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani and (Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo said in a tweet. "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

Earlier on Saturday the Houthi rebels said they launched a 10-drone attack, which would be among the rebel group's most significant attacks on the Saudi kingdom.

According to Saudi state television, Saturday's attack did not disrupt the kingdom's oil exports.

However, The Wall Street Journal and U.S. broadcaster CNN, citing unnamed sources, said the kingdom has reduced oil production by 5 million barrels a day, nearly half of the country's entire oil output.

 

The attack caused fires at two facilities operated by Saudi state oil giant Aramco in the eastern province of Buqyaq, according to a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry.

The fires were later brought under control, according to the Saudi official.

A military spokesman for the rebels said the attack was a "legal response" to an ongoing Saudi-led military campaign them.

"We promise the Saudi regime that our next operations will expand and be more painful," the rebel spokesman added, according to pro-Houthi television al-Masirah.

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