Eleven Terror Attacks Sought Harming Saudi Oil Facilities

A motorist holds a fuel pump at a Gulf petrol station in London

The New York Times reported late on Monday that the Pentagon had developed an "updated military plan" that would involve sending as much as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran were to attack United States forces or accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

The attacks targeted two oil pump stations on the East-West Pipeline, which carries oil from Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province to the Port of Yanbu, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

"The attack on Saudi Arabia, which was carried out by the Houthi militia with a direct incitement from Iran, can not be tolerated or met with silence", read the statement from the Yemeni government found on the state-run Saba News Agency.

Saudi Aramco, the government-controlled oil company, said that as a precaution, it temporarily shut down the pipeline and contained a fire, which caused minor damage to one pumping station.

Tensions have risen in the year since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring U.S. sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis. Although, Saudi Oil minister Khalid Al-Falih has responded now, saying that Yemen's Houthis has carried out the attack.

These developments came two days after two Saudi oil tankers were attacked near the coast of the UAE.

A picture taken on May 13, 2019 off the coast of the Gulf emirate of Fujairah shows Norwegian oil tanker Andrea Victory, one of the four tankers damaged in alleged "sabotage attacks" in the Gulf the previous day.

The 1,200-kilometre (750-mile) pipeline reportedly hit Tuesday serves as an alternative for Saudi crude exports if the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf were to be closed.

Oil prices rose on news of the attack on the Saudi pumping stations, more than 200 miles (320 km) west of the capital Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in the Yemen war to bolster the internationally recognized government's efforts against the Houthis in March 2015.

The conservative premier said that Paris was "extremely determined" to adhere to worldwide rules related to arms sales and had "intensified" its exports controls regime. "(These) two ports which are meant (to supply oil) in place of the Iranian oil!"

The market was also holding out some hope for flagging U.S.

Sunday's incident comes after the US Maritime Administration, a division of the US Transportation Department, warned on Thursday that Iran could target commercial sea traffic.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards threatened last month to close the narrow waterway, which separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula, if Iranian vessels were barred from using it.

The UAE's foreign ministry said in its statement, published on WAM state news agency, that the concerned authorities have taken all the necessary measures, and are investigating the circumstances of the incident in cooperation with local and global bodies.

In a tweet, the rebel-owned television station, Al Masirah, quoted a Houthi official describing Tuesday's drone assault as: "This large military operation is in response to the continued aggression and blockade of our people and we are prepared to carry out more unique and harsh strikes".