A report by United Nations sanctions monitors has said Yemen’s Houthi rebels did not carry out an attack in September that set ablaze two major Saudi oil facilities, Reuters news agency reported.
The United States, European countries and Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being behind the attack on Saudi Aramco oil plants in Abqaiq and Khurais that was claimed by the Houthis. Iran has denied any involvement.
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According to the report seen by Reuters on Wednesday, the independent UN experts to the Security Council Yemen sanctions committee said: “That despite their claims to the contrary, the Houthi forces did not launch the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September 2019.”
Riyadh, which is backing Yemen’s internationally recognised government in its fight against the Houthis, has long accused Iran of supplying the rebels with weapons. Tehran says it supports the rebels diplomatically and politically but has repeatedly denied providing them with any military aid.
The reported findings by the UN monitors come amid escalating tensions in the region after the US assassinated top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week and Tehran retaliated on Wednesday by firing missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The UN investigators said they doubted that the drones and land-attack cruise missiles used in the September 14 attack “have a sufficient range to have been launched from Yemeni territory under the control of the Houthis.”
“The panel notes that Abqaiq and Khurais were approached respectively from a north/northwestern and north/northeastern direction, rather than from the south, as one would expect in the case of a launch from Yemeni territory,” the report said, according to Reuters.
The investigators, who monitor sanctions on Yemen, also said they do not believe that “those comparatively sophisticated weapons were developed and manufactured in Yemen.” They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible for the Saudi attack.
The attacks that targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais oil plants caused an increase in oil prices and shut down more than 5 percent of global oil supply. Saudi Arabia said on October 3 that it had fully restored oil output.
The Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, signalled in September that Riyadh was waiting for results of UN investigations before announcing how his country would respond.
UN experts monitoring UN sanctions on Iran and Yemen travelled to Saudi Arabia days after the September attack.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, told the Security Council in a separate report on December 10 that the UN was “unable to independently corroborate” that missiles and drones used in the attacks “are of Iranian origin”.
The report is from the independent panel of experts that reports twice a year to the Security Council on the implementation of sanctions related to the conflict in Yemen that were imposed in 2014 and 2015.
It was submitted to the UN Security Council Yemen sanctions committee on December 27, but will not be made public for a few more weeks.
“The Houthi forces continue to receive military support in the form of assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, as well as more sophisticated cruise missile systems,” the report found.
“Some of those weapons have technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in Iran,” it said.
A Saudi-UAE-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s conflict in 2015 in support of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had been forced out by the Houthis.
Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions driven to the brink of famine in a war the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Yemen’s Houthis say Saudi oil facility hit in overnight attack |NationalTribune.com
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they have attacked a large oil facility in an industrial complex south of the Saudi Arabian city of Jizan as part of an overnight operation. The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthis said on Monday it intercepted and destroyed four missiles and six bomb-laden drones launched by Houthi rebels towards the kingdom.…
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they have attacked a large oil facility in an industrial complex south of the Saudi Arabian city of Jizan as part of an overnight operation.
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthis said on Monday it intercepted and destroyed four missiles and six bomb-laden drones launched by Houthi rebels towards the kingdom.
The missiles and drones were launched from Yemen’s capital Sanaa and directed at civilian targets, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The Houthi rebels claim they also killed and injured dozens of ranking military officers in Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis’ military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, confirmed in a statement that the rebel group had launched attacks on Saudi military sites.
He said the group’s ballistic missiles and drones had destroyed a number of military bases and installations of the Saudi coalition in Jizan, Najran and Assir near the border with Yemen, in a “wide-scale military operation”.
“Additionally, the giant oil facility in the Jizan industrial zone. The strike was accurate,” he said, adding that they also hit Saudi warplanes and other military targets in the airports of Abha, Jizan and Najran in southwest Saudi Arabia near the Yemen border.
Oil company Saudi Aramco operates a 400,000-barrel-a-day refinery in the Red Sea city of Jizan, which lies around 60 km (40 miles) from the Yemen border.
Aramco did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
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Cross-border attacks by the Houthi rebels have escalated since late May when a truce prompted by the novel coronavirus expired. In late June, missiles reached the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Sarea said details of a broad military operation inside Saudi Arabia carried out by Houthi forces would be announced later.
Saudi Arabia has been leading an alliance to fight the Houthis in Yemen since March 2015.
The Saudi-UAE coalition intervened after the Houthis removed Saudi-backed, internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.
The United Nations recently launched virtual talks among the warring parties on a permanent ceasefire and confidence-building steps to restart peace negotiations.
But discussions have been complicated by the surge in violence since the ceasefire expired.
The war has killed more than 100,000 people and caused what the UN describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
The conflict has pushed Yemen, already one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, to the verge of famine and devastated the country’s health facilities.
Houthis say Saudi-UAE coalition carried out air raids on Sanaa
Strikes come two days after Saudi Arabia intercepted two ballistic missiles the Houthis launched towards the kingdom [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters] The Saudi-UAE coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen carried out more than a dozen air strikes on the capital Sanaa, the first such attacks on the city in months. According to Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, the coalition…
Strikes come two days after Saudi Arabia intercepted two ballistic missiles the Houthis launched towards the kingdom [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]
The Saudi-UAE coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen carried out more than a dozen air strikes on the capital Sanaa, the first such attacks on the city in months.
According to Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, the coalition launched 19 air raids on Monday. No casualties were reported so far.
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The attacks on Sanaa came after Saudi Arabia intercepted two ballistic missiles the Houthis said they had launched on Saturday towards Riyadh and southern parts of the kingdom near the Yemeni border.
The Houthi attack coincided with the fifth anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed al-Attab, reporting from Sanaa, said about 25 air strikes hit the capital on Monday, the first such attack on the city in months.
“The ministry of health has condemned the Saudi bombing,” he said.
On Sunday, UN Yemen Envoy Martin Griffiths reiterated a call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to build momentum for a nationwide ceasefire, especially in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.
“Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak,” Griffiths said in a statement overnight, referring to the respiratory illness coronavirus causes.
Yemen has not recorded any cases of the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.
Tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict, relief agencies say.
Airports, ports, bridges and roads have all been repeatedly attacked. Farms, schools, oil and gas facilities, factories and private businesses have also been targeted.
The fighting has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.
Al Jazeera and news agencies
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