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Saudi Arabia suspends oil exports through Red Sea lane after Houthi attack

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Staff Writer | July 26, 2018
Red Sea lane
Oil exploration   The Houthis had attacked two VLCCs

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was “temporarily halting” all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two big oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement sent by his ministry that the Houthis had attacked two Saudi Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) in the Red Sea on Wednesday morning, one of which sustained minimal damage.

“Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe,” the statement said.

Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis in a three-year war, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

The tankers pass near Yemen’s shores while heading from the Middle East through the Suez Canal to Europe.

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