Drone strikes on Aramco facilities spark regional, international condemnation


RIYADH — Regional, international condemnation of drone attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities followed, after Ministry of Interior on Saturday said that drone attacks caused fires at two Saudi Aramco facilities, adding that the blazes are under control.

One of the facilities is located in Abqaiq, near Dammam in the Kingdom's Eastern Province. The other facility is located in the Hijrat Khurais oilfield.

“At 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, Aramco’s industrial security teams fought two fires in two of the company’s facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais after they were targeted by drones... the two fires were controlled and contained, and the related authorities have begun investigating,” the ministry said in a statement.

The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid led the global condemnation on the drone attacks in a strongly-worded tweet.

On the official Twitter page of the US Mission to Saudi Arabia, Abizaid said, “The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks against oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.”

The UAE’s Foreign Ministry also condemned in a statement the drone attacks, adding that “any threat to the safety and security of the Kingdom is also a threat to the UAE’s safety and security,” and that the attacks are “evidence of terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine security and stability in the region.”

Bahrain too strongly condemned the drone attacks, and said that the country stands with Saudi Arabia against terrorism and everything that threatens its security.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry expressed its condemnation on Saturday, and called on the international community to double its effort to counter Iran-backed Houthi militia attacks.

Egypt also condemned the drone attacks, stressing its full solidarity with the Kingdom in preserving its security and confronting terrorism.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry considered the drone attack on two Saudi Aramco facilities, a dangerous escalation which increases tension in the region.

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Affairs Minister Andrew Murrison said, “Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure.”

"Totally unacceptable attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this morning," Murrison, the British minister responsible for the Middle East and North Africa said on Twitter.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed concern over the drone attacks that targeted two Saudi Aramco facilities, calling upon all parties to exercise restraint and avoid any incidents that threaten regional security.

Griffiths is “extremely concerned about the drone attacks... today against two major oil facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a statement said, according to AFP. “The recent military escalation is extremely worrying,” it added.

According to Al Arabiya, security officials have been at the scene containing the fires since they broke out at dawn on Saturday. No residential areas are located near the sites and there were no causalities so far and that traffic is flowing smoothly in the surrounding area of the Aramco facility in Abqaiq.

Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility for drone attacks, the militia’s military spokesman said on Al Masirah TV. The broadcaster said the Houthis had deployed 10 drones against the sites in Abqaiq and Khurais, and the militia pledged to widen the range of its attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition fighting them in Yemen.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia has also launched several other drones targeting the Kingdom. On May 14, the Houthis also claimed an attack by explosive-laden drones that targeted Saudi Aramco pipelines in Al-Dawadmi. — Al-Arabiya English/Agencies