Saudi Arabia shuts key oil pipeline after Houthi drone attacks

A passerby walks past in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo Japan

The Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese news agency known to be well connected to Hezbollah, was the first to report the attack on the oil ships in the Persian Gulf.

Brent crude futures were at $70.27 a barrel at 0104 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1%, from their last close.

Armed drones attacked the stations for an east-west pipeline that carries oil from the Eastern Province to the port of Yanbu on the Saudi west coast.

"The attack on Sunday was aimed at threatening the freedom of maritime navigation and the security of oil supplies to consumers around the world", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement on Monday, without accusing any party.

The announcement came shortly after Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed to have carried out an attack with seven drones that "targeted vital Saudi facilities".

Armed drones, allegedly dispatched by Yemeni rebels, struck two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, spiking tensions in the region and potentially disrupting global efforts to end the civil war in Yemen.

Washington and its Gulf allies did not immediately blame Riyadh's regional arch-rival Tehran for the sabotage, but US President Donald Trump has warned Iran against doing anything to harm US interests.

"Any risky slip and the region will pay a unsafe price, Iraq will pay a unsafe price", Mahdi added. The UAE also did not provide any details about the attack saying only that there were no casualties and the port of Fujairah was operating as usual. He said the UAE had sought US help in the investigation.

Saudi Arabia did not identify the vessels involved or say whom it suspected of carrying out the alleged sabotage.

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A UAE government official said the Saudi oil tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad were attacked off the emirate of Fujairah along with the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory and an Emirati ship, the A. Michel.

Separately, John Abizaid, US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Washington should take "reasonable responses short of war" after determining who was responsible for the damage to the ships. "B-team" is Zarif's moniker for the alliance between Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

The US Embassy in the UAE advised its citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance for heightened tensions in the region. Satellite images obtained by The Associated Press later showed no visible major damage to the vessels, which included two Saudi tankers and an Emirati vessel.

The United States is backing the Saudi coalition with intelligence and logistical support, as well as billions of dollars in weapon sales.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the offer, saying there are no guarantees that the United States would stick to another nuclear agreement after Trump violated the first agreement almost one year ago.

Murky claims of sabotage to oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Noting that the presence of United States naval fleet in the Persian Gulf region is just for show, Rear Admiral Khanzadi said, "as long as the naval forces of the Islamic Republic are protecting its borders, the enemies will never dare to even look daggers at the Iranian nation".

About 30% of all seaborne oil exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz from Middle East crude producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

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