Saudi Arabia says oil pipeline was attacked by drones

Saudi Arabia says oil pipeline was attacked by drones
© Getty Images

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that one of its oil pipelines had come under attack by armed drones launched by Houthi rebels, the first such attack deep within Saudi territory.

The Associated Press reported that Saudi officials said the attack occurred at two sites on the country's east-west pipeline, which traverses the middle of the country. The attack involved several drones launched from inside Saudi Arabia, according to reports, though the weapons capabilities of the drones were not immediately clear.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oil prices including Brent crude reportedly rose on news of the attacks, which a Saudi official denounced as "cowardly." A spokesman for the Houthi rebels, who are engaged in a civil war in Yemen against the Saudi-backed government, called the attack a milestone for the Houthis' cause.

“This is a message to Saudi Arabia: Stop your aggression,” spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam told the AP. “Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing everyday against the Yemeni people.”

Houthi rebels had yet to carry out such attacks so far within the borders of Saudi Arabia and indicated Tuesday in their statements that sympathy for their cause among the local populace contributed to their success, even though no major damage was reported.

"It was a successful operation. We found assistance from people living in Saudi Arabia, and we had excellent intelligence," a second Houthi spokesman, Yahya Saree, told Al Jazeera.

"The Houthi capability has increased massively in recent years, some of it homegrown but [the attack] definitely suggests that the Iranians have helped out," Andreas Krieg, a fellow at the Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, told the network. "They've never been able to deeply penetrate Saudi Arabia. …  It looks like they are targeting the oil infrastructure."