Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’

This Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. annotated by TankerTrackers.com, shows a damaged tank and fire-suppressing foam on the ground at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
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Updated 24 November 2020

Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’

  • Energy ministry says blast was result of 'a terrorist attack with a projectile'
  • The Arab coalition says those responsible would be held to account

RIYADH: A missile fired by Houthi militants in Yemen sparked an  explosion and fire at a fuel distribution site near Jeddah on Monday.

The blast took place at 3.50 a.m. and causing a fire in a fuel tank at the petroleum products distribution station, north of the city, Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said. 

The blast was the result of “a terrorist attack with a projectile,” the ministry said.

Firefighting teams managed to extinguish the blaze, and no injuries or loss of life occurred as a result of this attack.

Saudi Aramco’s supply of fuel to its customers was not affected.

The Arab coalition fighting to restore the internationally recognised government in Yemen said those responsible would be held to account. 

“The terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia has been positively identified as the culprits of this cowardly terrorist assault,” coalition spokesman Brig.-Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said. 

The attack, he said, was not just an attack on Saudi Arabia’s national assets, “but on the core of the global economy and its supply routes, as well as the security of global energy.”

He said the attack was a continuation of attacks on other oil facilities in the Kingdom, including a cruise missile and drone assault in Abqaiq and Khurais last year. Those attacks were initially claimed by the Houthis, although evidence suggested they came direct from Iran.

“Substantiated evidence proved the direct involvement of the Iranian regime in those terrorist assaults using Iranian-made advanced conventional weapons,” Al-Maliki said.

He said the coalition would act to safeguard civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

“All terrorist elements who participated in plotting and executing these hostile, terrorist operations against civilians and civilian objects will be held accountable in accordance with the Customary International Humanitarian Law,” he added.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also condemned the attack Jeddah’s fuel facility, saying it supports any measures by Saudi Arabia to protect its security.

The UAE also condemned the attack, saying it is evidence that Houthis are seeking to undermine the stability of the region.

The Yemeni foreign ministry also said the terror attack proves the Houthis' “lack of seriousness towards peace.” 

The Arab League also denounced the “cowardly terrorist attack” that targeted the fuel distribution station in Jeddah.


Saudi women making their mark in science

Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel
Immunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
Physician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.