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This satellite image shows damage to Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing plant. Photo: U.S. government/Digital Globe

The Saudi Arabian-led military coalition fighting in Yemen said Monday that Iranian weapons were used to strike major oil plants in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The Saudi claim, which also said the strikes did not come from Yemeni territory, came hours after the Trump administration released satellite images as evidence that the attacks came from Iraq or Iran, highlighting a marked escalation in months of tension between the U.S. and Iran, which has denied involvement.

  • It raises questions about how Washington might respond to the attacks that halved Saudi oil production and sent oil prices soaring, and why Iran would have risked such a confrontation, as the New York Times points out.

The big picture: President Trump tweeted Sunday night, "There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification."

  • Trump did not name the suspect, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted earlier, "Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply."

The case against Iran: U.S. officials produced satellite photos showing what they said were at least 19 points of impact at 2 Saudi facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom's crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq, AP reports.

  • An official told CNN that such a strike could not be carried out with 10 drones, which the Houthis claimed to have used. "You can't hit 19 targets with 10 drones like that," the official said.
  • Other devices that didn't reach their targets were recovered northwest of the facilities and were being analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence, the officials said, per AP.

What they're saying: Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on Saudi Arabia, per AP.

The big picture: Tensions between the 2 countries increased in May on the first anniversary of Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, when he hit Tehran with sanctions. Iran has breached the 2015 deal several times since and scaled back its commitments. The U.S. later imposed more sanctions on Iran and its officials.

  • In June, Trump said after Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone that the United States had readied a series of strikes against the country, but he called the action off at the last moment because it would cause too many casualties.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.