Saudis thwart attempted attack on oil facility near Yemen
April 27, 2017
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia said Wednesday its security forces thwarted an attempted attack on an Aramco oil distribution center involving an unmanned boat from Yemen, where the kingdom is at war with Shiite rebels.
The Interior Ministry said its security forces stopped the explosives-packed boat early Tuesday before it could reach the target in Jizan, a southern region of Saudi Arabia that borders Yemen.
Pictures released by the ministry on Wednesday show a small, unmanned speed boat allegedly strapped with explosives heading toward the center. The ministry also published images of a large explosion in the water after strikes on the target by the Saudi Royal Navy.
For more than two years, a Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis. The rebels have launched several cross-border attacks.
The Interior Ministry did not immediately accuse the rebels of being behind the attempted "terrorist attack." In an apparent warning to Iran, the statement said Saudi forces will remain vigilant against "those standing behind Houthi militias working to threaten the security of waterways and sea facilities."
The ministry said the boat had entered Saudi waters from a small Yemeni island. The Houthis did not immediately comment on the incident.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia said a similarly unmanned boat belonging to Houthi rebels rammed one of its frigates in the Red Sea, killing two crew members and wounding three. The boat was one of three that attacked the frigate, which was patrolling off the Yemeni port of Hodeida. The Houthis said the frigate was hit by a rocket they fired.
The Houthis have also previously claimed responsibility for a strike on a vessel operated by the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Saudi coalition bombing the rebels and their allies in Yemen.