Saudi Arabia suspects same source behind tanker, airport attacks

Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih, speaks during a meeting in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 19, 2019.


By TSUYOSHI INAJIMA | Bloomberg | Published: June 15, 2019

The same source responsible for a recent missile launch on an airport in Saudi Arabia likely perpetrated attacks on ships near the Strait of Hormuz, according to the Kingdom's energy minister.

Khalid Al-Falih's comments during a G-20 ministerial meeting on energy and the environment in Japan come after U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the vessel attacks near the Strait, a narrow sea conduit through which the Middle East's crude flows. A missile fired by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels hit the Abha International airport on Wednesday. The Saudi minister didn't mention a country or group by name.

"The Kingdom itself has also been attacked in the past," Al-Falih said at the meeting in the mountain resort town of Karuizawa on Saturday. "Our energy infrastructure but also our civilian locations, like the airport in Abha where 26 civilians were hurt in a missile attack. We suspect it came from the same source as that that attacked the ships."

Saudi Arabia will take every measure to protect its oil infrastructure, its territorial waters, its ports and its ships, Al-Falih said on Saturday during the meeting with his Japanese counterpart. The impact on global confidence in the security of supply is of more concern than the damage to the ships that were attacked, he said.

The Kingdom is committed to ensuring the stability of global crude markets and helping supply the energy needs of Japan and other countries, the energy minister said. Saudi Arabia has seen demand from some consumers increase and has met all those requests, he added.

Iran has denied culpability for the vessel attacks.

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