DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – An Iranian-owned oil tanker was struck by two missiles off the Saudi port of Jiddah on Friday, Iranian state television reported, quoting the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) which owns the vessel. The tanker was set ablaze and suffered heavy damage and was leaking crude about 60 miles (96 km) from Jiddah, according to Iranian media. The alleged attack is the latest incident involving oil tankers in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf region, and is likely to ratchet up tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, which operates in the region, said it was aware of media reports about the tanker, but did not have any further information at this time. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia.
The second plane, with tail number HZ-SK1, landed at Ataturk Airport at 5:15 p.m. the same day, and took off barely an hour later, at 6:20 p.m., the newspaper reported, adding that the aircraft had flown to Egypt and, the next day, back to Riyadh. The jet that had arrived earlier left Istanbul at 10:46 p.m. on Oct. 2, flying to Dubai and then to Riyadh, according to the newspaper. The people who had arrived on that plane checked into two hotels near the Saudi Consulate, booking rooms for three nights, but they retrieved their belongings and left the same day, Sabah reported. The group in the second plane went directly to the consulate and then back to the airport. Sabah reported that it had obtained passenger lists for both aircraft.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Saudi Arabia called for swift action to secure Persian Gulf energy supplies and joined the United States in blaming Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in a vital shipping route that have raised fears of broader confrontation in the region. Thursday's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman exacerbated the antagonistic fallout from similar blasts in May that crippled four vessels. Washington, already embroiled in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, has blamed Tehran and Saudi Arabia's crown prince also accused Iran on Saturday. Iran has denied any role in the strikes on the tankers south of the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for oil from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, and other producers in the region. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said there must be "a rapid and decisive response to the threat" to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence, his ministry said on Twitter.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Yemen's Houthi movement launched drone attacks on oil facilities in a remote area of Saudi Arabia, the group's Al Masirah TV said Saturday, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities or state oil giant Aramco. A Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis to try to restore Yemen's government, which was ousted from power in the capital, Sanaa, by the group in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years. The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months. "Ten drones targeted Aramco's Shaybah oilfield and refinery in the first Operation: Balance of Deterrence in the east of the kingdom," the Al Masirah channel reported, citing a Houthi military spokesman.