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Drone Attacks on Saudi Aramco Facilities Cause Fire

Drone attacks targeted a major Saudi Aramco processing facility and oilfields in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said, sparking a huge fire at one of the sites before dawn.

Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco plants in the kingdom’s Eastern Province on Saturday, the group’s military spokesman said on Al-Masirah TV.

It wasn’t clear if there were any injuries in the assault on the processing plant in Buqyaq and at the Khurais oil field. Online videos apparently shot in Buqyaq included the sound of gunfire in the background. Smoke rose over the skyline and glowing flames could be seen a distance away.

The fires began after the sites were “targeted by drones,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The company describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq as “the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world.”

The facility processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports it onto transshipment points. Estimates suggest it could process up to 7 million barrels of crude oil a day.

The plant has been targeted in the past by militants. Al-Qaida-claimed suicide bombers tried but failed to attack the oil complex in February 2006.

Buqyaq is some 330 kilometers northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh.