Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’

Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’
This Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. annotated by TankerTrackers.com, shows a damaged tank and fire-suppressing foam on the ground at a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. facility in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
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Updated 24 November 2020

Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’

Saudi Arabia says Jeddah fuel tank blast caused by ‘Houthi terrorist missile’
  • Energy ministry says blast was result of 'a terrorist attack with a projectile'
  • The Arab coalition says those responsible would be held to account

RIYADH: A missile fired by Houthi militants in Yemen sparked an  explosion and fire at a fuel distribution site near Jeddah on Monday.

The blast took place at 3.50 a.m. and causing a fire in a fuel tank at the petroleum products distribution station, north of the city, Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said. 

The blast was the result of “a terrorist attack with a projectile,” the ministry said.

Firefighting teams managed to extinguish the blaze, and no injuries or loss of life occurred as a result of this attack.

Saudi Aramco’s supply of fuel to its customers was not affected.

The Arab coalition fighting to restore the internationally recognised government in Yemen said those responsible would be held to account. 

“The terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia has been positively identified as the culprits of this cowardly terrorist assault,” coalition spokesman Brig.-Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said. 

The attack, he said, was not just an attack on Saudi Arabia’s national assets, “but on the core of the global economy and its supply routes, as well as the security of global energy.”

He said the attack was a continuation of attacks on other oil facilities in the Kingdom, including a cruise missile and drone assault in Abqaiq and Khurais last year. Those attacks were initially claimed by the Houthis, although evidence suggested they came direct from Iran.

“Substantiated evidence proved the direct involvement of the Iranian regime in those terrorist assaults using Iranian-made advanced conventional weapons,” Al-Maliki said.

He said the coalition would act to safeguard civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

“All terrorist elements who participated in plotting and executing these hostile, terrorist operations against civilians and civilian objects will be held accountable in accordance with the Customary International Humanitarian Law,” he added.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also condemned the attack Jeddah’s fuel facility, saying it supports any measures by Saudi Arabia to protect its security.

The UAE also condemned the attack, saying it is evidence that Houthis are seeking to undermine the stability of the region.

The Yemeni foreign ministry also said the terror attack proves the Houthis' “lack of seriousness towards peace.” 

The Arab League also denounced the “cowardly terrorist attack” that targeted the fuel distribution station in Jeddah.


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.