JEDDAH: A failed attempt by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to destroy a Saudi gas plant near the UAE border was “cowardly sabotage,” the Kingdom’s energy minister said on Saturday.
The Houthis claimed 10 drones struck the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant in a “massive” attack, which was also “a warning to the UAE.”
The UAE has condemned the attack, with the country’s foreign affairs ministry strongly condemning “this terrorist act, which aims at destabilizing security and stability and poses a grave threat to the world’s energy supply.”
In a statement, the UAE reiterated its full solidarity with the Kingdom’s government and people, affirming support of all measures taken by Saudi authorities to secure the country’s security and stability, as well as any actions taken in the face of extremism and terrorism.
“The security of the United Arab Emirates and that of Saudi Arabia are indivisible, and any threat or danger facing the Kingdom is considered as a threat to the security and stability system in the UAE,” the UAE foreign ministry said.
Saudi Aramco said their response teams had “controlled a limited fire” at the facility. “There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations,” the company said.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “This terrorist sabotage follows a series of actions, including attacks against oil tankers, aimed at disrupting international oil supplies.
“These acts are not only aimed at Saudi Arabia but also against the global economy.”
The Houthis’ actions showed their contempt for the Swedish peace process aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen, Dr. Theodore Karasik, senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC, told Arab News.
“One would think the Houthis would like to show a better face to the international public, instead of lashing out daily with potentially deadly results,” Karasik said.
“It is in itself a crime that more efforts are not devoted to getting the Houthis to cease this campaign, which breaks international laws and threatens global civil aviation and energy.”
Karasik cautioned that the Houthis were benefiting from upgraded Iranian missile and drone technology. Some of the modifications were minor but effective, he said.
“It only illustrates the criminality of those who produce and use such weapons.”