Trump condemns drone attacks in call with Saudi crown prince

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq Saudi Arabia

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq Saudi Arabia

Saturday's attacks caused no casualties but forced a suspension of production at the two plants, where extensive damage was reported from huge explosions triggered by the unmanned aircraft.

The Houthis have medium, long-range ballistic missiles in their inventory and they had previously targeted certain strategic locations of Saudi Arabia with armed drones.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister has confirmed that Saturday's drone attacks on its oil facilities have knocked out about half of the country's output.

Arch-foes Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May a year ago, when President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of a 2015 deal that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. "The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us", Sarie said.

Washington's chief diplomat labeled the incidents as an "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply".

He says Iran has been practising fake diplomacy and added that there is no evidence that the drone attack came from Yemen.

Saudi Basic Industries, the kingdom's biggest petrochemicals firm, was down 3.3pc after it said it had curtailed feedback supplies by about 49pc following the attack.

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Nevertheless, there has been talk of a potential meeting between Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, although the latter has said bilateral talks with the United States are useless unless sanctions are lifted first.

Iran's foreign ministry dismissed as "meaningless" USA accusations it was behind the drone attacks, suggesting they were a pretext to retaliate against the Islamic republic.

A spokesman said the rebels had deployed 10 drones in the attacks.

Saudi security forces foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda to attack the Abqaiq facility with suicide bombers in 2006. "This is one of the biggest central processing facilities in the world". Even a brief or partial disruption could affect the company, and the oil supply, given their size. Houthi rebels have been using drones in combat since the start of the Saudi-led war.

Sunday's decline extended a losing spree for Saudi stocks, which in recent weeks have been hit by expensive valuations, weak oil prices and concerns about the economic outlook. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels. Last month, a similar attack was carried out by Yemen's Huthi rebels, which sparked fire at Aramco's Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility.

There have been other sources of tension in the region, often stemming from the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A top Iranian commander warned on Sunday that Tehran was prepared for an all-out war with the United States and said his country could launch advanced missiles at U.S. bases and aircraft carriers within a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles).

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