Yemen’s rebels threaten to hit UAE targets after KSA

A security officer walks past the Abha airport in Saudi Arabia after it was attacked by Yemen's Houthi group on June 13. (Reuters)
Updated 19 September 2019

Yemen’s rebels threaten to hit UAE targets after KSA

  • Dozens of targets in UAE can be hit anytime, Houthi rebels claim
  • A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since March 2015

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Yemen’s Houthi rebels are threatening to attack the United Arab Emirates, days after they claimed attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for the Houthi forces, told a press conference Wednesday that they have “dozens of targets” in the UAE that “could be targeted at any time.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have fought a yearslong war in Yemen that’s killed tens of thousands of people.
He also alleged that they used “other drones to disrupt the enemy so the main drones can reach the target” during Saturday’s attacks.
The pre-dawn strikes hit a Saudi oil field and the world’s largest crude oil processing plant, disrupting the kingdom’s oil production.
The Saudi military has shown journalists what they describe as an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in an attack this weekend that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.
Saudi officials showed journalists the material at a news conference Wednesday in Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital.
They said the cruise missile, which had what appeared to be a jet engine attached to it, was a land-attack cruise missile that failed to explode.
On Saturday, an attack struck the world’s biggest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, as well as an oil field. Though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the assault, the US alleges Iran was behind it.
Tehran has denied being involved and warned the US it would retaliate “immediately” if targeted over it.
A Saudi military spokesman says an attack on its oil industry came “from the north.”
Col. Turki Al-Maliki did not elaborate, but to the north across the Arabian Gulf is Iraq and Iran.
He spoke at a news conference Wednesday in Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital.
Al-Maliki said the attack was “unquestionable sponsored by Iran.”
On Saturday, an attack struck the world’s biggest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, as well as an oil field. Though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the assault, the US alleges Iran was behind it.
Tehran has denied being involved and warned the US it would retaliate “immediately” if targeted over it.
The International Energy Agency says oil markets remain well supplied and that it’s not yet considered releasing emergency stocks of crude to offset the drop in output caused by the weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations.
The Paris-based agency, which advises governments and can release oil stocks in times of crisis, said Wednesday its member states hold about 1.55 billion barrels of emergency reserves. That amounts to 15 days of world oil demand, “more than enough to offset any significant disruption in supplies for an extended period of time.”
The IEA has only released emergency stocks three times: in 1991 ahead of the Gulf War, in 2005 due to hurricanes in the US and in 2011 over the Libyan war.
IEA head Fatih Birol said: “At this point, we do not see the need to take such action.”
A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since March 2015.
France is sending experts to help investigate drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced the move in a statement Wednesday after the French leader spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The statement says the French experts are going at Saudi request to help “shed all light on the origin and methods” of the attacks.
Macron denounced the attacks and stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia’s security.
Macron’s office said Tuesday that France is continuing diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions around the Arabian Gulf.
Saturday’s attack targeted the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oil field in Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the attack, though the US and Saudi Arabia suspect Iran was behind the assault. Iran denies being involved.
Saudi Arabia says it is joining a US-led coalition to secure the Mideast’s waterways after an attack targeting its crucial oil industry.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency carried a statement Wednesday morning quoting an unnamed official saying the kingdom had joined the International Maritime Security Construct.
That’s a mission already joined by Australia, Bahrain, and the United Kingdom.
The US formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that American officials blame on Iran, as well as Iran’s seizure of tankers in the region. Iran denies being behind the tanker explosions.
The US military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Saturday, an attack struck the world’s biggest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. 


Pakistanis among dead in Madinah bus accident

Updated 17 October 2019

Pakistanis among dead in Madinah bus accident

  • The crash took place when a privately chartered bus carrying 39 pilgrims collided with a loader
  • Reports indicate only four bus passengers survived the tragedy, some in critical condition

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic road accident that claimed the lives of 35 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

According to media reports, the accident happened when a privately chartered bus carrying 39 passengers collided with a loader near Madinah at about 7pm on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s foreign office confirmed in a press statement that “the deceased also include a certain number of Pakistani nationals.”

“Of the four survivors,” the handout continued, “there is one Pakistani named Mr. Akbar, who is seriously injured. The Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah has established contact with him and is in touch with the concerned Saudi authorities and staff of the King Fahad Hospital, Madinah, to ascertain details of casualties of Pakistani nationals.”

Reacting to the development, the foreign minister said his ministry was in touch with the Saudi authorities to ascertain the causes of the accident.

“Our diplomatic mission is in contact with the Saudi authorities to ensure that the injured get the best medical facilities and the bodies of the deceased are smoothly flown back to Pakistan,” Qureshi added.