ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi on Sunday denied that his country was a launching pad for drones used to attack two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which lost about half of its oil output due to the incident, or five percent of the world’s supply of the commodity.
Abdul Mahdi’s office denies reports about “the use of Iraqi territory to launch attacks on Saudi oil installations by drones and affirms its constitutional commitment to prevent the use of its territory for aggression on its neighbors, brothers, and friends,” a statement from the prime minister’s office read.
The statement asserted that Baghdad would “deal firmly with anyone who tries to violate the Constitution and has formed a committee from competent Iraqi authorities to follow up on” the incident.
The perpetrators reportedly used multiple aircraft in coordinated strikes that targeted Aramco oil plants Abqaiq and Khurais, located in eastern Saudi Arabia. Local authorities controlled the fire at the facilities, but the attack disrupted the country’s oil output, which could take “weeks, not days,” to recover, an informed source told Reuters.
Yemeni Houthi rebels, which Iran backs, immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, some Saudi and Iraqi media outlets reported that the drones had been launched from Iraq by another Tehran-trained entity, the Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
International media reports have also suggested the aircraft could have been launched from Iraq.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” and accused Iran directly of being behind the strikes.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Abbas Mousavi dismissed what he called “blind” allegations regarding Tehran’s involvement in the attack.
A Saudi-led coalition backs the internationally-recognized government in an ongoing civil war in Yemen that has resulted in a major humanitarian disaster. The Houthis, who oppose the government, have previously used drones and missiles to target Saudi Arabia. While Riyadh has been able to repel missiles using their air defense system, they have reportedly been ineffective in foiling attacks carried out using drones.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany