Saudi reopens key oil pipeline after drone attack: Aramco

Earlier, the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to send "a clear and unmistakable message" to Iran.

In contrast to the Saudis, European leaders, who appear to be losing patience with their USA ally, voiced their concerns over America's escalation of tension. On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif raised the possibility that American "hardliners" have orchestrated these incidents to justify a move against Iran, yet reiterated that "there won't be any war" with the US. In other comments carried on the semi-official Mehr news agency, Zarif was quoted as saying "a multilateral deal can not be treated unilaterally".

Iran should now be targeted following its attacks against Saudi oil infrastructure - first bomb attacks on two Saudi tankers, followed by drone strikes on two pumping stations - the paper said in an English-language editorial.

This comes after President Donald Trump told acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Thursday that he does not want the United States to go to war with Iran.

Tensions have flared in recent weeks after the US sent warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged threat from Iran.

"The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the two Aramco pumping stations proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran's regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim", he wrote.

'We need to address Iran's behavior clearly, but at the same time not to be baited into crisis, ' Gargash said in an interview with Bloomberg Television late on Wednesday.

His comments came as Saudi-led forces launched retaliatory airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen, where the United Nations is working to end a four-year war that's killed thousands and left millions facing hunger and disease.

Fawaz Ahmed, a middle-aged broker, told The Associated Press he saw the three bodies being retrieved from the rubble - a father, his child and his wife, all buried together. At least 40 other people were wounded, according to Yemen's Health Ministry.

In the Netherlands, state broadcaster NOS said its 50-person military mission in Iraq was halted "until further orders", quoting a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying he couldn't elaborate on the threats.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia-led military coalition carried out air strikes on the Yemeni capital on Thursday. The pipeline attack marked one of the rebels' deepest and most significant drone strikes inside Saudi territory since the conflict began.

A coalition statement carried by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, said the Sunni Muslim alliance struck military bases and facilities and weapons storage sites with the aim of "neutralising the ability of the Houthi militia to carry out acts of aggression". -Iranian tension following Washington's decision this month to try to cut Tehran's oil exports to zero and beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it called Iranian threats. In response, Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn't be hard for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. He also said that while his country would not negotiate with the United States, Iran is not seeking war.

The Houthi drone attacks came a day after four ships were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates as they made their way toward the Strait of Hormuz, the world's foremost oil shipping chokepoint.

An alert on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said all nonessential, nonemergency U.S. government staff were ordered to leave Iraq right away under State Department orders.

The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains unclear. Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 American troops.

Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command at its vast Al-Udeid Air Base.

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