Six injured as blaze spreads after ‘sabotage’ blast at Aden refinery

Fire engulfs an oil storage tank at the Aden oil refinery following an explosion in Aden, (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2019

Six injured as blaze spreads after ‘sabotage’ blast at Aden refinery

  • Civil defense crews battle to stop fire taking hold in fuel storage tank complex

JEDDAH: Six people were injured on Saturday when a fire caused by an explosion in a storage tank at the main oil refinery in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden spread to a second tank.

The cause of the blast late on Friday is still unknown, but security officials described it as sabotage.

The fire, which also spread to a nearby pipeline, was “the result of an explosion, probably a deliberate act of sabotage,” one said.

“The fire brigade are working to contain the blaze and stop it spreading to the neighboring storage tanks, which are full of oil and diesel” donated by Saudi Arabia, he said.

Another official said security forces had prevented anyone from leaving the site and opened an investigation into the incident. Early indications suggested “an explosion and an act of sabotage” were to blame, he also said.

Aden is under the control of the internationally recognized government, which is backed by the Saudi-led coalition. 

It took up residence there after Iran-backed Houthi militias ousted it from the capital, Sanaa, in 2014. Aden’s refinery was damaged the following year in fighting that put it out of operation for more than a year, causing severe fuel shortages and power cuts.

Farther north on Saturday, there were clashes between Houthi and government forces in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, placing more pressure on a fragile UN-brokered truce.

Artillery and machinegun exchanges broke out in the southern part of Hodeidah in early morning before tapering off later in day.

The UN says the cease-fire has largely held since it came into force on Dec. 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of Houthi and government forces.


Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

Updated 58 min 51 sec ago

Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

  • Sultan Qaboos has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970
  • The sultan has no known successor for his throne in Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Oman’s 79-year-old ruler has returned to his sultanate after traveling to Belgium for a medical checkup, the sultanate’s state-run news agency reported Friday.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said left “for some medical checks that will take a limited period, God willing,” the Oman News Agency reported a week earlier, citing a royal court statement. A similar royal statement announced his return, without elaborating.

Bin Said has taken medical trips abroad in the past. The sultan has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970. He has no known successor for his throne in Oman, a country on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula that’s home to some 4.6 million people.