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Saudi Oil Field Attacked

Yemen's Houthi rebels cause a fire at the Shaybah oil field
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2019 12:15 PM CDT
In this file photo, an industrial plant strips natural gas from freshly pumped crude oil is seen at Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oil field at Shaybah in Saudi Arabia's Rub al-Khali desert.   (AP Photo/Bruce Stanley, File)
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(Newser) – Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia's sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a "limited fire" in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry, the AP reports. The attack on the Shaybah oil field, which produces some one million barrels of crude oil a day near the kingdom's border with the United Arab Emirates, again shows the reach of the Houthis' drone program. Shaybah sits some 750 miles from Houthi-controlled territory, underscoring the rebels' ability to now strike at both nations, which are mired in Yemen's yearslong war.

The drone assault also comes amid heightened tensions in the wider Mideast between the US and Iran, whose supreme leader hosted a top Houthi official days earlier in Tehran. State media in Saudi Arabia quoted Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying production was not affected at the oil field and no one was wounded in the attack Saturday. The state-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known widely as Saudi Aramco, issued a terse statement acknowledging a "limited fire" at a liquid natural gas facility at Shaybah. Their acknowledgement came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their "biggest-ever" operation. He threatened more attacks would be coming.

(Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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