Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil industry in May originated in Iraq, not Yemen, US officials have concluded, drawing questions from Iraqi officials who have asked Washington for more information supporting the claim, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday.
US officials familiar with the intelligence on the May drone attacks say they originated in southern Iraq, the Journal reported, saying that most likely pointed a finger at Iran-backed militias in that region.
Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis, who have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for four years, said they carried out the drone strikes against the East-West pipeline.
The drone attack happened two days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were damaged by sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The attacks took place against a backdrop of US-Iranian tension following Washington’s move last month to try to cut Tehran's oil exports to zero and beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it called Iranian threats.
The State Department declined to comment on the report.
At a weekly news conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi denied the attacks could have come from Iraqi territory.
"All of our intelligence services and our air force denied these reports because the air space is known," Mahdi said.
"As far as we are concerned, we have no proof and we have no evidence in this matter."
He said none of the Iraqi intelligence or military services that monitor its air space detected any launch.
"There was no movement on that day on this subject," he said.
Saudi forces on Friday intercepted five drones launched by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels, a Riyadh-led military coalition said, in a second assault on an airport in the kingdom's southwest in two days.
'A terrorist attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia took place at Abha international airport, through which thousands of civilian passengers... pass daily'
The Spokesman for the Coalition, Colonel Turki Al Maliki, said the all drone attacks attempted by the terrorist militia are doomed to fail and that the coalition adheres to rules of engagement to prevent civilian casualties when responding to any threats.
India saw a daily spurt of 48,648 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 8.09 million, health ministry data showed on Friday.
India is the world’s second worst affected country, after the United States, which has nearly 9 million infections
Japan has eased travel curbs for China, Australia, South Korea and six other countries and regions, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Friday, as Tokyo steps up efforts to revive its economy while preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Japan’s move to embrace a climate target of carbon neutrality by 2050 could open the way for the beleaguered nuclear industry to fire up again, nearly a decade after the Fukushima disaster shut down most of the country’s reactors.