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The Houthi rebels in Yemen said over the weekend that last week’s attack on an Aramco oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia was the start of military operations against some 300 vital military targets in the Kingdom and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Houthis have identified targets such as military headquarters and facilities in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia, as well as their bases in Yemen, Houthi-controlled SABA news agency reported on Sunday, quoting a source in the military of the rebel movement.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are essentially fighting a proxy war in Yemen, where the Saudis lead a military Arab coalition to “restore legitimacy” in the country, while the Houthi movement, which holds the capital Sanaa, is backed by Iran.
Over the past week, tension in the region has dramatically escalated with Houthis claiming responsibility for a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia.
Two pumping stations along Aramco’s East-West oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia were attacked by explosive-laden drones last week, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who described the attack as one of “terrorism and sabotage.”
This statement came out hours after Houthi-owned TV Almasirah reported that “7 Drones have targeted vital Saudi facilities.”
Reports of the drone attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil infrastructure came a day after Saudi Arabia said that two of its oil tankers were attacked by saboteurs near the UAE, while the UAE said that a total four vessels were attacked off its coast at the port of Fujairah.
Related: Global Oil Shipping Concerns Rise Over Middle East Tensions
The Saudi-led coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Thursday, targeting bases of the Iran-aligned Houthis.
The heightened tension in the Middle East and the U.S.-Iran standoff have been supporting oil prices in recent days, outweighing bearish factors such as concerns over an escalating U.S-China trade war or slowing global economic growth.
On Sunday, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs, said, as carried by the official Saudi Press Agency:
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region and does not seek to do so and will do its utmost to prevent this war, while stressing that if the other side chooses war, the Kingdom will respond firmly and decisively and will defend itself and its interests.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.