The Latest: US blames Iran for attacks on Saudi oil sites

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Mike Pompeo

FILE – In this Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 file photo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to media during a news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the State Department in Washington. Even though Pompeo has declared a Senate run to be “off the table” next year, many fellow Republicans in Washington and his home state of Kansas aren’t buying it. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on the explosion and fire at a major oil facility in Saudi Arabia (all times local):

1:20 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is blaming Iran for drone attacks Saturday against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.

The attacks, attributed to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, sparked huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

But in Saturday tweets, Pompeo says “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” and points the finger at Tehran. He adds, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

The attacks come as Trump has held the door open for nuclear talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and as Iran restarted some uranium enrichment in violation of the 2015 nuclear accord.

Pompeo says the U.S. calls on all nations to “condemn Iran’s attacks.”

He adds, “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.”

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1:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump spoke Saturday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman “to offer his support” after Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched drone attacks against the Kingdom’s oil facilities.

The White House says in a statement that “The United States strongly condemns today’s attack on critical energy infrastructure.” The attacks sparked huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

Spokesman Judd Deere says the attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis “only deepen conflict and mistrust.” He adds that the U.S. government is “committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied.”

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10:45 p.m.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has received a telephone call from President Donald Trump in the wake of a Houthi rebel drone attack on Saudi oil facilities.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington says in a news release that Trump expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability following the attack Saturday.

The drone attack hit the world’s largest oil processing facility and another major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

Trump said recent attacks against Saudi state-run oil facilities have had a negative impact on the U.S. and global economies.

The crown prince assured Trump that Saudi Arabia is “willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” according to the release.

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8:10 p.m.

The U.N. special envoy for Yemen says he is “extremely concerned” about a drone attack claimed by Houthi rebels on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

The drone attack hit the world’s largest oil processing facility and another major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies.

The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Martin Griffiths urged all parties to “prevent such further incidents, which pose a serious threat to regional security, complicate the already fragile situation and jeopardize UN-led political

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12:50 p.m.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels has claimed a drone attack on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

Yahia Sarie made the announcement Saturday in a televised address carried by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel.

He said the Houthis sent 10 drones to attack an oil processing facility in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field.

He warned attacks by the rebels against the kingdom would only get worse if the war in Yemen continues.

Sarie said: “The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us.”

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the rebels since March 2015.

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9:10 a.m.

Saudi Arabia says drones attacked two major oil facilities in the kingdom, sparking fires.

The kingdom did not say who was behind the attacks Saturday. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched similar attacks, but did not immediately claim the latest assaults.

The ministry said investigations were ongoing.

One attack struck a major oil facility in Buqyaq, which is near Dammam in the kingdom’s Eastern Province. Online videos apparently from the area showed a massive blaze on the horizon, with the apparent sound of gunfire in the background.

The ministry identified the other area targeted as its Khurais oil field.

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6:55 a.m.

A Saudi-owned satellite news channel is reporting an explosion and fire at a Saudi Aramco facility in the kingdom’s east, without offering a cause for the blaze.

The Dubai-based broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported the fire early Saturday morning in Buqyaq, which is near Dammam in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

The channel did not elaborate.

Online videos showed a massive blaze on the horizon, with the apparent sound of gunfire in the background.

State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately report on the incident. Requests for comment to Aramco and officials in the kingdom were not immediately acknowledged.

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