Saudi Arabia reopens key oil pipeline after drone attack

Saudi Arabia has reopened a key oil pipeline, an official said Thursday (May 16th), after it was shut down by drone attacks claimed by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah), AFP reported.

The official from state oil giant Aramco said the East West Pipeline "is fully operational".

Yemen's Houthis had claimed responsibility Tuesday for twin drone strikes on the pipeline from the kingdom’s Eastern Province to the Red Sea coast.

The pipeline, which can pump five million barrels of crude per day, provides a strategic alternative route for Saudi exports if the shipping lane from the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strait, a vital conduit for global oil supplies, in case of a military confrontation with the US.

Saudi Arabia's deputy defence minister Khalid bin Salman accused Iran of ordering the pipeline strikes, which he labelled "terrorist acts".

"The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the two Aramco pumping stations proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran's regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region," he said.

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