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Drones Strike Major Oil Facility

Iranian-backed Houthis strike in Saudi Arabia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2019 11:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies, the AP reports. It remained unclear hours later whether anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field or what affect the assault would have on oil production. Rising smoke from the fires at the sites could be seen by satellites in space. The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the war against a Saudi-led coalition comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom's oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage.

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The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the US and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. First word of the assault came in online videos of giant fires at the Abqaiq facility, some 205 miles northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Machine-gun fire could be heard in several clips alongside the day's first Muslim call to prayers, suggesting security forces tried to bring down the drones just before dawn. The fires began after the sites were "targeted by drones," the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It said an investigation was underway.rt.

(Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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