Saudi forces foil attempted attack on Aramco oil in Jazan

Dana Khraiche 4/26/2017

BEIRUT -- Saudi Arabia’s security forces foiled an attempt to blow up an oil product distribution center in Jazan, a province bordering Yemen in the kingdom’s southwest, according to the state-run news agency.

A remote-controlled boat laden with explosives was spotted leaving a small island in Yemeni waters and later intercepted, the Saudi Press Agency said, citing an unidentified spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. Saudi security forces said they would stop any attacks by Houthi rebels, who are threatening shipping routes in the Red Sea with explosive-laden boats and mines.

Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in Yemen in March 2015, leading a coalition that’s carried out intensive airstrikes and deployed a limited number of ground troops in an effort to defeat Shiite Houthi militants aligned with Iran. Since the start of the war, the Houthis have launched missiles into Jazan, where Saudi Aramco is building a 400,000-bpd refinery.

In the past, the Saudi oil industry has been an al-Qaeda target. The group’s followers, including Saudi veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, who returned to the kingdom, tried to attack Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil-processing plant in the Eastern Province, with car bombs in 2006.

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