Saudi official blames Iran for ordering Houthi drone attacks on pipeline

RIYADH, May 16 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabian Vice Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman on Thursday accused Iran of ordering the recent drone attacks on Saudi pipeline facilities launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

“The terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis, are tightening the noose around the ongoing political efforts,” the minister said in a tweet on his official Twitter account.

He said the attacks prove that the Houthi militias “are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim.”

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that two Aramco pumping stations on its main oil pipeline were attacked by armed drones, causing a limited fire and damages.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen later claimed responsibilities for the attacks, which they said were launched in retaliation against the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on its targets.

In response, the Saudi-led coalition launched on Thursday airstrikes against Houthi military targets in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a Sunni Arab military coalition against the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the rebels forced him into exile and seized much of Yemen’s north, including Sanaa.

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