Two oil pumping stations on a major Saudi East-West oil pipeline have been attacked by drones two days after oil tankers hulls were bombed in sabotage outside Fujairah port in UAE Gulf of Oman waters.
The attack by drones carrying explosives was described as an act of terrorism that targeted global oil supplies. The two pumping stations belonging to Saudi Aramco, forced the state oil company to suspend operations to assess what was described as “limited damage.”
The stations are situated in the Saudi cities of Afif and Dawadmi and are linked to a pipeline transporting oil from the eastern oilfields to the Red Sea port of Yanbu.
A television station owned by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents claimed the drone attacks on Saudi installations, without identifying the targets or time of the attacks.
This is the second attack on Mideast Gulf oil infrastructure on the heels of the first which was sabotage of four oil tankers outside of Fujairah port.
Both targets, the Fujairah project and the Saudi East-West pipeline, were designed to bypass the Strait of Hormuz which is controlled by Iran.
Although officials have tried to play down the events and not assign responsibility it has been widely reported that most likely the first event was carried out by Iran’s elite Al Qods special forces, while the second was claimed by Yemeni Houthis who are backed by Iran.
Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents previously used an explosive drone supplied by Iran to bomb a government parade and kill a large number of pro-Saudi officers and men.
Military experts warned that this new Iranian device, after proving its worth as a precise weapon in Yemen, was ready for use against other Iranian targets, including US forces in the region and Israel.
Many think the two attacks this week were both in response to US sanctions on Iran‘s oil exports and a demonstration of their many resources for causing damage to the Gulf’s energy industry and disrupting export routes to international markets.
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