Published: Mon, August 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Yemen rebel attack sparks fire in Saudi gas plant

Yemen rebel attack sparks fire in Saudi gas plant

The separatists' takeover of Aden has strained a Saudi-led military coalition formed to confront the Iranian-aligned Houthis, who bombed a Saudi oil facility on Saturday.

Security and military sources said on Saturday that southern separatists had gained ground throughout the second city of Yemen, Aden and have surrounded the palace of the President as they were fighting fierce battles against the loyalist forces.

South Yemen was an independent country until it merged with the north in 1990.

The field is in one of the most remote corners of Saudi Arabia - so remote it's called the "Empty Quarter" - and linked to the main export terminals by a 645-kilometer (401 miles) pipeline. Hadi's government said it would not attend talks until the "coup" ends.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia's Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that at 6:20 am on August 17, a processing unit of Shaybah's natural gas plant was targeted by explosive-laden drones, resulting in a limited fire, a Saudi Press Agency report said.

Aden is a key port city in the Gulf of Aden and also considered the STC headquarters.

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The UAE in June scaled down its presence in Yemen, leaving behind thousands of southern forces it has built and trained.

The violence is complicating United Nations -led peace efforts to ease tensions between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia to pave the way for political talks to end the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of starvation.

The conflict, which has killed tens of thousands and pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation, has been in military stalemate for years with the Houthis holding Sanaa and most big urban centres. "He trusts no one, and this makes things hard at a critical time", said the Yemeni official. This accumulation of grievances caused south Yemeni separatist militias to form as Yemen plunged into civil war, and intense clashes between STC and pro-government forces in Aden in January 2018 foreshadowed the recent upsurge in violence. Islah denies the charge. Riyadh tolerates Islah because it has helped to prop up Hadi.

"Southern forces are close enough to the sites they vacated to retake them at any moment".

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