The Iranian attack on major Saudi oil infrastructure came from two locations, hence the confusion: DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that Summer cruise missiles were fired from Khuzestan in southern Iran and Avail 2 armed drones from Anbar in western Iraq. This was the conclusion reached by US and Saudi intelligence probes into Saturday’s devastating attack on the big Saudi oil refinery at Abqaiq and its Kurais oil field.
Our sources add that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, which staged the attack, fired altogether 17 missiles and drones, of which 12 missiles achieved direct hits on their targets and five drones missed.
Khuzestan, the source of the missiles, is Iran’s main oil heartland, while the drones came from a location some 200km from the big American Ayn al-Asad air base in Anbar province. A strip of desert was cleared by the pro-Iranian PMU Shiite militia ready for the operation, under the orders of Iran’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Last Christmas, President Donald Trump visited the air base, on his only visit to Iraq as president, and praised the advanced military equipment installed there as affording the US contingents full control of the region.
The Israeli government and military are becoming jittery over the delay in any Saudi or US response for the Iranian attack, which has already impacted the global energy market, fearing that if Tehran can get away with a major assault on one American ally, it may be encouraged to go for another one.
Israeli sources gave no credence to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s assertion on Monday that the attack on Saudi oil facilities was a reciprocal Houthi operation for the kingdom’s attacks in Yemen, judging it to be another attempt to distance Tehran from responsibility and pretend it had nothing to do with the United States.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu too issued a statement on Monday, saying that Israel is prepared for the possibility of being drawn into any US-Iranian confrontation over a strike on a Saudi oil plant. “I am taking care of our security on a 360-degree basis, and I can tell you that we are well-prepared” for any Iranian provocation. Netanyahu spoke 24 hours before Israel’s national ballot in which he is running for re-election.