2019: A look back

Look Back 2019: Saudi oil plant attacks create hair-trigger situation

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's eastern province, on Sept 14, 2019.
Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's eastern province, on Sept 14, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

Drone attacks in September on two plants at the heart of Saudi Aramco's oil operations knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia's oil production and sent oil prices soaring globally.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group, which controls north-western Yemen and has been at war with various Yemeni groups backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the United States and the Saudis laid the blame squarely on Iran. Experts said the sophistication of the attack pointed to Iran, and evidence provided by the US this month indicated that the drones came from the north.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2019, with the headline 'TERRORISM: Saudi oil plant attacks: Hair-trigger situation'. Subscribe