Six in­jured as blaze spreads af­ter ‘sab­o­tage’ blast at Aden re­fin­ery

Arab News - - Front Page - Arab News Jed­dah Reuters

Six peo­ple were in­jured on Satur­day when a fire caused by an ex­plo­sion in a stor­age tank at the main oil re­fin­ery in Yemen’s south­ern port city of Aden spread to a sec­ond tank.

The cause of the blast late on Fri­day is still un­known, but se­cu­rity of­fi­cials de­scribed it as sab­o­tage.

The fire, which also spread to a nearby pipe­line, was “the re­sult of an ex­plo­sion, prob­a­bly a de­lib­er­ate act of sab­o­tage,” one said.

“The fire bri­gade are work­ing to con­tain the blaze and stop it spread­ing to the neigh­bor­ing stor­age tanks, which are full of oil and diesel” do­nated by Saudi Ara­bia, he said.

An­other of­fi­cial said se­cu­rity forces had pre­vented any­one from leav­ing the site and opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent. Early in­di­ca­tions suggested “an ex­plo­sion and an act of sab­o­tage” were to blame, he also said.

Aden is un­der the con­trol of the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized gov­ern­ment, which is backed by the Saudiled coali­tion.

It took up res­i­dence there af­ter Iran-backed Houthi mili­tias ousted it from the cap­i­tal, Sanaa, in 2014. Aden’s re­fin­ery was dam­aged the fol­low­ing year in fight­ing that put it out of op­er­a­tion for more than a year, caus­ing se­vere fuel short­ages and power cuts.

Farther north on Satur­day, there were clashes be­tween Houthi and gov­ern­ment forces in the Red Sea port city of Hodei­dah, plac­ing more pres­sure on a frag­ile UN-bro­kered truce.

Ar­tillery and ma­chine­gun ex­changes broke out in the south­ern part of Hodei­dah in early morn­ing be­fore ta­per­ing off later in day.

The UN says the cease-fire has largely held since it came into force on Dec. 18 but there have been de­lays in the agreed pull­back of Houthi and gov­ern­ment forces.

Work­ers look as fire en­gulfs an oil stor­age tank at the Aden oil re­fin­ery a day af­ter an ex­plo­sion at the fa­cil­ity.

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