UPDATE 1-Saudi-led coalition: Evidence indicates Iranian arms used in Saudi attack

RIYADH, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen's Houthi movement said on Monday that the attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said that an investigation into Saturday's strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.

"The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location ... The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed," Malki told a press conference in Riyadh.

He said authorities would reveal the location from where drones were launched at a future press briefing.

Iran has dismissed as "unacceptable" U.S. accusations that Tehran was responsible for the assault on Saudi oil facilities that cut almost half of the kingdom's production, or 5% of global oil supply.

Related: Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities attacked

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Saudi Arabia's oil facilities attacked
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 file photo, made from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel, smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility fills the skyline, in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The weekend drone attack on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco’s stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. (Al-Arabiya via AP, File)
In this image made from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, a Saudi police cruiser sits in a parking lot as the smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility can be seen behind it in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oilfield Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies. (Al-Arabiya via AP) TV OUT NO SALES
Storage tanks are seen at the North Jiddah bulk plant, an Aramco oil facility, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world's largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco's stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows a pre-strike overview at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
A currency trader walks by the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after crude prices surged following an attack on Saudi Arabia's biggest oil processing facility. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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Malki said the Gulf Arab state, the world's top oil exporter, was capable of protecting vital energy and economic sites. "This cowardly act largely targets the global economy and not Saudi Arabia."

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government ousted from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014 by the Houthis.

The movement has stepped up drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities this year. The conflict is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. (Reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh and Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous, William Maclean)

 

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