Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat-Saudi security forces prevented a terrorist attack on the Abqaiq oil refinery yesterday according to a statement by the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum.
Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said oil and gas output was unaffected by the “terrorist attempt”. Al-Naimi said that the incident resulted in a minor fire which was immediately extinguished. Production in the facility continues at full capacity, and export operations are continuing as usual, he added.
Saudi security adviser Nawaf Obaid told Reuters news agency that security forces fired on three cars at the outer gates of the Abqaiq facility, 1.5 kilometers (one mile) from the main entrance. One car was carrying gunmen and two others, packed with explosives, rammed the gates, he said. All the attackers were killed. Security sources in Riyadh said four militants and two security officers died and two other officers were wounded.In a recent development Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the attacks. In an online Statement, the remains to be authenticated said two of its militants carried out the suicide attack. “With grace from God alone, hero mujahideen from the squadron of Sheikh Osama bin Laden succeeded today (Friday)…in penetrating a plant for refining oil and gas in the town of Abqaiq in the eastern part of the peninsula, and then allowed two car bombs in driven by two martyrdom seekers,” it said. It said the raid was within the framework of efforts by al Qaeda to prevent the theft of Muslims’ wealth by “crusaders and Jews” and to force “infidels” out of the peninsula. Saudi Arabia has waged a successful three-year crackdown on al-Qaeda’s branch in the kingdom. Security forces have killed or captured most of the branch’s known top leaders, most recently in gun battles in December, after the militants launched a campaign in 2003 to overthrow the U.S.-allied royal family with a string of attacks.