IRAN used cruise missiles to strike a Saudi oil plant, analysts have said, as photos emerge purportedly showing the wreckage of a weapon shot down by Saudi defences.
Oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were struck by two attacks on Saturday that knocked out five per cent of global oil supply and sparked fears of escalating tensions.
Images purport to show the debris of a cruise missile in the Saudi desert after two strikes on oil facilities over the weekend[/caption]
US and Saudi officials have blamed the strikes on Iran[/caption]
The Trump administration has said Iran was most likely behind the attacks, citing intelligence assessments and satellite photographs.
Unverified images have now emerged on social media seeming to show the debris of an Iranian-made missile in the Saudi desert.
Some analysts said the pictures showed a crashed Soumar missile, Iran’s attempt to reverse-engineer the Soviet-designed KH-55 , several of which the country illegally imported from Ukraine in the early 2000s.
Others identified the wreckage as a Quds 1, a missile similar to the Soumar unveiled by the Houthis in July, the Arms Control Wonk website reported.
The Houthis are an Iran-backed insurgent group based in Yemen currently fighting a war for control of the country against a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
The group today claimed responsibility for the weekend’s attacks, saying it sent a flock of ten “drones” to carry out the strikes.
Spokesperson Mohammed al-bukhaiti said: “We confirm that the Yemeni forces are the ones who hit the oilfields, and everyone knows our credibility, in every attack we announce.
“We don’t need to provide evidence.”
But military analysts don’t believe the Houthis currently have the technology or resources to strike two targets so far from Yemen so accurately, and fingers have so far pointed towards Iran.
‘IRAN SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE’
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on twitter on Saturday: “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy.
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.
“There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.
“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks.
“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Saudi Arabia has said its initial investigations have indicated that Iranian weapons were used in the attacks on its installations, and that it would “invite United Nations and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations”.
A statement from foreign ministry continued: “The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.”
It added that Saudi Arabia “affirms that it has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions.”
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Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg told the AFP news agency yesterday: “We call on all parties to prevent any such attacks occurring again because that can have negative consequences for the whole region, and we are also extremely concerned about a risk of escalation.”
But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, today dismissed speculation of a possible meeting between himself and President Trump at the UN General Assembly next week, saying: “There will be no talks with the U.S. at any level.”
Some analysts pointed out similarities between the debris in the photos and parts of the Quds 1, a cruise missile unveiled by the Houthis in July[/caption]
Images show damage to the plant, owned by the Saudi saudi state and located in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia[/caption]
Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq[/caption]
Analysts have said the strike was too accurate to have been carried out by any group without significant technology and resources[/caption]
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