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Yemeni rebels say they exploited Saudi weak spot
This Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. shows thick black smoke rising from Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Photo: AP

Yemeni rebels say they exploited Saudi weak spot

Dubai, Sep 15 (AP/UNB) — A leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels says they were able to “exploit vulnerabilities” in Saudi Arabia’s air defense system to stage the attack previous day on the kingdom’s vital oil installations.

Muhammad al-Bukhaiti told The Associated Press on Sunday that the U.S. allegations that Iran was behind the attack reflected “political bankruptcy” of the administration in Washington.

The drone attack claimed by the Houthis hit the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oil field on Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attacks and said that here’s “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Pompeo said on Saturday that “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has condemned the drone attack on Saudi oil installations, describing it as an escalation that could widen conflicts in the region.

Hariri said in a statement on Sunday that the attack the day before in Saudi Arabia should push the international community to rein in “all the arms of aggression and terrorism that are striking Arab countries.”

Hariri said Lebanon stands by Saudi Arabia, adding that the latest “aggression” against the kingdom is part of attacks targeting Gulf Arab states and also undermines regional and international security.

Iran’s foreign minister says that blaming Iran for Yemeni rebel attacks on major Saudi oil sites will not end the war in the Arab world’s most impoverished country — but that talks might.

Mohammad Javad Zarif also said in a tweet on Sunday that “Having failed at ‘max pressure’, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turning to ‘max deceit’.”

He also says: “US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory.”

Zarif also tweeted: “Blaming Iran won’t end disaster. Accepting our April ’15 proposal to end war & begin talks may.”

Late Saturday, Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the attack on major Saudi oil sites, without offering evidence to support his claim.

Iraq is denying that its country was the site from where Yemeni-rebel drones were launched to attack Saudi oil installations.

The statement came from Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office on Sunday.

It says Iraq would act “decisively” if anyone tried to use its territory to attack other countries.

U.S. officials previously alleged at least one recent drone attack on Saudi Arabia came from Iraq, where Iran backs Shiite militias, something denied by Baghdad. Those militias in recent weeks have been targeted themselves by mysterious airstrikes, with at least one believed to have been carried out by Israel.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed the U.S. accusation that it was behind an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure the day before, calling it part of Washington’s policy of “maximum lies.”

Abbas Mousavi made the statement on Sunday.

He says Washington adopted a ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran but because of “its failure, (the U.S.) is leaning toward ‘maximum lies'” now.

Saturday’s drone attacks by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels have halted about half of Saudi oil supplies after hitting the kingdom’s biggest oil processing facility and a major oil field.

They set off huge fires and led to a suspension of “production operations” at the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field.

President Donald Trump called the Saudi crown prince after the attack, expressing U.S. support for the kingdom’s security and stability.