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Smoke billowing from an Aramco oil facility following the Houthi attacks. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Iran denied Sunday U.S. accusations that it was behind drone attacks targeting the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais in Saudi Arabia the previous day.

The latest: Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the early Saturday strikes, AP reports. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, saying "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said in a statement the U.S. accusations were "blind, incomprehensible and meaningless."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why it matters: The attacks cut crude oil output by 5.7 million barrels a day, the state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco said. Saudi Arabia estimates that's about half of the country's oil production — roughly 5% of the world's daily crude oil output, per the Wall Street Journal.

Where it stands: The strikes were the largest attacks on "Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure in more than a decade," Bloomberg reports. The energy minister said Saudi Aramco is "working to recover the lost quantities." Saudi Aramco executives held an emergency meeting to determine the damage, per Bloomberg.

  • The plant, which burst into flames, is "crucial to global energy supplies," per AP.
  • The New York Times notes it's unclear where the drones were launched from, and how the Houthis managed to hit facilities deep in Saudi territory, some 500 miles from Yemeni soil.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Ben Geman: The attack is likely to push oil prices upward, perhaps significantly so, owing to concern about geopolitical risk — even if, as the Wall Street Journal reports, production is quickly restored and overall Saudi supplies to global markets aren’t disrupted.

What they're saying: President Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke on the phone Saturday, with Trump offering "his support for Saudi Arabia's self-defense," according to deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere.

  • Saudi media reported that the crown prince told Trump, "The kingdom is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression."
  • Deere said Trump declared, "Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust." The U.S. "remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied," he added.

The big picture: With tensions heightened between the U.S. and Iran, and across the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran —there's a potential "risk to global oil supply," Bloomberg writes.

  • The Houthi rebels have been fighting the Saudi-backed central government for years in a war that's led to the one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
  • In January, United Nations investigators wrote that the Houthis had acquired advanced drones that could have a range of up to 930 miles, NYT reports.
  • Saudi Aramco was reviving preparations for a massive IPO when the attacks happened.

Go deeper: Saudi Aramco replaces chairman as oil giant prepares for massive IPO

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

A city's catharsis

A view outside the Hennepin County Courthouse after yesterday's verdict. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Celebration and catharsis filled the streets of Minneapolis yesterday. After weeks on edge, many breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing Judge Peter Cahill read the sweep of guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin.

What they're saying: "George Floyd isn't coming back to life, but this is the justice we were looking for," Jaqui Howard, who joined the crowds outside the courthouse yesterday, told The Star Tribune.

What to expect from Derek Chauvin's sentencing

Screenshot via CNN

Derek Chauvin was whisked away to prison after after two weeks of testimony and about 10 hours of jury deliberations, but his sentencing will move much slower — about eight weeks.

What's next: There's still plenty of wrangling left over how much time the former Minneapolis cop will spend behind bars.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
35 mins ago - Health

The U.S. is approaching the vaccine hesitancy "tipping point"

Expand chart
Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. will probably run out of adults who are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated within the next two to four weeks, according to a KFF analysis published yesterday.

Between the lines: Vaccine hesitancy is rapidly approaching as our main impediment to herd immunity.

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