Saudi says two pumping stations for major oil pipeline 'attacked by drones'

Saudi says two pumping stations for major oil pipeline 'attacked by drones'

A team of U.S. military experts, performing an initial examination of the damage inflicted Sunday on four ships anchored off Fujairah, one of the United Arab Emirates' seven principalities, tentatively concluded that Tehran was responsible, the Associated Press reported on Monday.

The ministry said there had been no injuries or fatalities, and no spillage of fuel or harmful chemicals.

Citing an unnamed USA official, the news agency explained that it appeared that Iran "or Iranian-backed proxies" had "used explosives" to "blow large holes in four ships".

The Andrea Victory's managers, Thome Group, said the ship had a hole in its hull "after being struck by an unknown object on the waterline".

The crew was unharmed and the ship was in no danger of sinking, it said.

According to the minister, at 6-6:30 a.m. local time drones hit two pumping stations of the pipeline used to transport oil from the oil deposits in the East of the kingdom to the port of Yanbu in the West.

A picture taken on May 13, 2019 off the coast of the Gulf emirate of Fujairah shows Norwegian oil tanker Andrea Victory, one of the four tankers damaged in alleged "sabotage attacks" in the Gulf the previous day.

"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 said in an English-language statement issued by his ministry.

Who's behind the suspected attacks?

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the Emirates will probe the "deliberate sabotage".

The attacks were also confirmed in a report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

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He was ousted following protests in Capital Khartoum , that saw many lives lost. There has been no comment from Bashir, who is in prison in Khartoum .

A U.S. official familiar with American intelligence identified Iran as a prime suspect yesterday, although Washington has no conclusive proof. Back in Washington, plans for moving up to 120,000 troops to the region are leaked by seven Trump administration officials to the New York Times.

The pipeline incident comes on the heels of rising tensions in the Gulf, where the United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday that four vessels had been exposed to undisclosed "sabotage".

A top commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corp called the USA aircraft carrier a "target", saying "If [the Americans] make a move, we will hit them in the head".

Fox News quoted a source on Monday night who said a US military team has examined the four commercial vessels damaged by explosions off the coast of the UAE on Sunday and concluded agents of Iran or its proxy forces attacked them.

China defied a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump and moved to impose higher tariffs on a range of U.S. goods including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas. "If they do anything they will suffer greatly".

A report from Sky News Arabia, a satellite channel owned by an Abu Dhabi ruling family member, showed the allegedly targeted Saudi tanker Al Marzoqah afloat without any apparent damage.

In Tuesday's attack, Falih was quick to cite a possible Iranian role. Calling for the "clarification of the exact dimensions of the incident", he also warned "against plots by ill-wishers to disrupt regional security".

Iran rejects the allegation of Iranian involvement and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "extremist individuals" in the USA government were pursuing risky policies.

"Does Trump want to go to war with Iran especially during an election campaign year?" he asked.

But Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there will be no conflict.

The US fought the Gulf War in 1991 to push Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait, a major OPEC member. "They know that it is not to their benefit".

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