LONDON | UK — Yemen’s Houthi militias did not launch an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in September, according to a confidential report by U.N. sanctions monitors seen by Reuters on Wednesday, bolstering a U.S. accusation that Iran was responsible.
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the Sept.14 attack on the Saudi Aramco oil plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, dismissing a quick claim of responsibility by the Iran-allied Houthis. Tehran denied any involvement.
The report by the independent U.N. experts to the Security Council Yemen Sanctions Committee said, “That despite their claims to the contrary, the Houthi forces did not launch the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September 2019”.
The findings of the U.N. report come amid escalating tensions in the region after the United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad and Tehran retaliated by firing missiles at military facilities housing U.S. troops in Iraq.
The U.N. investigators said they doubted that the drones and land attack cruise missile used in the Sept. 14 attack “have a sufficient range to have been launched from Yemeni territory under the control of the Houthis.”
“The panel notes that Abqaiq and Khurais were approached respectively from a north/northwestern and north/northeastern direction, rather than from the south, as one would expect in the case of a lunch from Yemeni territory”, the report said.
The investigators, who monitor sanctions on Yemen, also said they do not believe that “those comparatively sophisticated weapons were developed and manufactured in Yemen”. They were not tasked with identify who was responsible for the Saudi Attack.