Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry displays Iranian drones, cruise missiles used in Aramco attacks

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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (AFP
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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (AN photo)
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Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the investigation so far has proved that the attack was not launched from Yemen. (AN photo)
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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (AN photo)
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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (Reuters)
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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (Reuters)
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Weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia at the Defense Ministry press conference about Iranian involvement in Saturday's Aramco attacks. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry displays Iranian drones, cruise missiles used in Aramco attacks

  • Defense ministry spokesman says attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran
  • Investigations are still underway to pinpoint the exact launch location, but definitely not yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia displayed Iranian drones and cruise missiles that it said were used in an attack against Aramco facilities at the weekend.

The attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran but investigations are still underway to pinpoint the exact launch location, defense ministry spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said at a news conference in Riyadh.

However he said that the strikes came from  north of the targets and not from Yemen, where Houthi militants claimed they had been launched from on Saturday. 

“The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," he told a news conference. “The evidence ... that you have seen in front of you, makes this undeniable.”

“The precision impact of the cruise missile indicates advanced capability beyond the capacity of Iran’s proxies. The targeting direction of the site indicates a north-to-south direction of travel.”

Eighteen drones and three missiles were launched against Abqaiq, the location of the world’s largest oil-processing facility, but the missiles “fell short” of the target, Al-Maliki said. A further four missiles targeted the Khurais oil field, he added.




The defense ministry showed how many drones (UAV) and cruise missiles (LACM) hit each of the two Aramco sites on Saturday. (Screengrab)Caption

The Ya Ali missiles, which have a range of 700 kilometers, are known to have been used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, he said.

UN experts have already traveled to Saudi Arabia to investigate the attacks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. He warned of “devastating” consequences should the crisis escalate.

Earlier, the Saudi ambassador to London said Iran was almost certainly behind the attacks on an oil processing facility and an oil field that cut the Kingdom’s oil production by half. 

The US has blamed Iran for the attacks and officials told Reuters that they originated in south-western Iran and involved cruise missiles and drones.

Iran-backed Houthi militants initially claimed they had carried out the attack from Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is part of a coalition supporting government forces fighting the militia. 

*With Reuters


Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.