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US views ‘serious military response’ to attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, says daily

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo accused the Iranian authorities of being behind the attacks

WASHINGTON, September 16. /TASS/. The United States administration is discussing 'a serious military response’ to the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, The Washington Post daily reported on Monday.

"His [US President Donald Trump's] administration was contemplating what U.S. officials characterized as a serious military response, though some in the Pentagon were said to be urging restraint," the daily stated adding that "The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations."

The Washington Post also reported that President Trump held a meeting on Sunday afternoon with US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper.

President Trump stated earlier in the day in his Twitter account that the country was ready to respond to the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but was waiting for the Kingdom to announce who was behind the attacks.

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump stated.

The world’s biggest crude-processing facility near the city of Abqaiq and a refinery near Khurais, where the kingdom’s second-biggest oil field is located, came under the attack, which was followed by a huge fire. Later, the authorities reported that the fire had been localized.

Following the incident, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo accused Tehran of being behind the attacks, saying there was no evidence they had originated from Yemen.

The Iranian foreign ministry dismissed Pompeo’s allegations as groundless.

Sunday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal said, citing its source in the government of Saudi Arabia that the country’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco, is reportedly going to restore approximately one-third of the disrupted crude output by Monday night. The company was reported to have lost 5.7 million barrels of output per day following the drone attacks.

As markets opened on Monday for the first time after the attacks, oil prices surged, but then backpedaled. For instance, the price of Brent crude jumped by 18% and then dropped back to a 12% increase.

Trump has also authorized the use of oil from the national Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stabilize the market in the wake of attacks on oil facilities.

"Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied," the US president stated.