Saudi Arabia on Thursday blamed Iran for ordering an attack early this week on two Aramco pipeline booster stations, a strike that was intended as part of a broader sabotage campaign to disrupt world oil supplies, according to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.
The drone attacks came one day after a string of attacks on two Saudi oil tankers and two other vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, and caused the temporary closure of a vital east-west pipeline traversing the kingdom, since reopened.
Prince Khalid Bin Salman, the vice minister for defense and brother of the crown prince MbS, described Yemen’s Houthis – which were believed to have launched the drone attack – of being used as an “Iranian” tool advancing Tehran’s aggression and hegemony in the region.
In a tweet, he said the Houthi militias “are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim”.
#BREAKING Saudi Arabia confirmed that militants, probably Iranian backed Houthi militants, sent booby-trapped drones targeting #Aramco‘s two oil pumping stations in Dawadmi and Afif provinces in #Riyadh, amid the tension between #US and Iran pic.twitter.com/drkWCG4eMN
— Yosef Yisrael (@yosefyisrael25) May 14, 2019
Since 2015 Saudi coalition jets have been waging a brutal bombing campaign over Yemen to roll back the country’s Shia Houthi rebels, the latter which have occasionally launched missile and drone attacks against sensitive sites in the kingdom, at times even reaching Riyadh’s international airport with ballistic missiles.
More footage shot by #Aramco employees for the attacked oil pipeline mid-west #SaudiArabia; #Houthis commenced the operation two days ago using explosive drones #Yemen #السعودية #اليمن #ارامكو pic.twitter.com/h4rmajn1MF
— Mohamad Kleit (@kleitm) May 16, 2019
Soon after Monday’s drone attack on the Aramco facilities, dramatic video was released online showing extensive destruction of the pumping stations, which had been on fire for hours following the attack.
US and Saudi investigators further blamed Iran for a “sabotage attack” on several Saudi and international tankers off a UAE port near the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday.