The U.S. assessment, which has not been previously disclosed, concludes that either Russian private military contractors or Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army were operating the air defences at the time the drone was reported lost on Nov. 21, said Africa Command spokesman Air Force Colonel Christopher Karns.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched drone attacks on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world’s largest exporter of oil. The attacks were the latest of many drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure in recent weeks, but easily the most damaging. They raise concerns about the global oil supply and likely will further increase tensions across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. The attacks resulted in “the temporary suspension of production operations” at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The fires “were controlled,” the statement said, and no workers were injured. The fires led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, according to the statement, which said part of that would be offset with stockpiles. The statement said Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, would provide updated information in the next 48 hours. The Iranian-backed Houthis, who hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other territory in the Arab world’s poorest country, took responsibility for the attacks in the war against a Saudi-led coalition that has fought since 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government. But the U.S. blamed Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, “There is no evidence
“The armed drone has been successfully used by US in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria as the skies are dominated by their air force. Pakistan is the only country that has counter-capabilities but will think 100 times before it decides to take a US drone down by a SAM or beyond visual range air-to-air missile,” said a senior India’s military commander on condition of anonymity.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia this week in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United Nations-led peace efforts. The latest hostilities coincide with rising tensions between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied to the United States and come just as a sensitive, U.N.-sponsored peace deal is being carried out in Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions. The Houthis, who claimed responsibility for last week’s armed drone strikes on oil assets in Saudi Arabia, said on Tuesday that one of their drones hit an arms depot at the kingdom’s Najran airport near the Yemeni border, causing a fire. The Saudi-led military coalition said a civilian facility in Najran province was targeted with an explosive-laden drone. It said on Monday that Saudi defence forces intercepted Houthi ballistic missiles fired towards Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. The Houthis denied doing so. On Sunday, the Houthis said they would attack 300 vital military targets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the UAE head a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government ousted from power in the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. The movement has during the war repeatedly targeted Saudi cities and vital installations – mostly in border areas, but on several occasions the capital Riyadh as well. The Houthis pledged last November to stop
“There are ongoing attempts to attack the Hmeimim airbase and positions of the Syrian army in the Latakia province by the terrorist groups staying in the Idlib de-escalation zone with multiple-launch rocket systems and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Major General Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation said.