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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.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs also urged the international community to take an immediate and decisive stance to stop these repeated acts, which threaten security and stability in the Kingdom.
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.
The Kremlin is expected to move immediately to absorb the regions once the voting is over, with President Vlaidmir Putin expected to declare their incorporation into Russia later this week.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said earlier that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation into the audio leaks allegedly from PM House that features government officials.
Blinken's comments came after India's defence and foreign ministers opposed a US decision to provide a support package of about $450 million for Pakistan's fleet of US-made F-16 fighter jets.
The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), with Abe's ashes carried into the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo by his widow, Akie, to music from a military band and the booms of the honour-guard salute, which echoed inside the hall.