US ‘locked and loaded’ to defend allies, says Pence

WASHINGTON 

The U.S. is prepared to defend its allies, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday, after an attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Pence addressed an audience at a Heritage Foundation event and said Washington does not seek war with anybody, but is prepared.

“In the wake of this weekend’s unprovoked attack on several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, I promise you, we’re ready,” said Pence. “We’re locked and loaded and we’re ready to defend our interests and our allies in the region. Make no mistake about it, ” he said, mimicking U.S. President Donald Trump tweet shortly after the attack.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Saudi state-run Aramco facilities Saturday.

Pence echoed U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks that “it is certainly looking like Iran is behind” the attacks.

“Our intelligence community is at this very hour working diligently to review the evidence,” said Pence, adding that the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is traveling to Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. response.

Earlier in the day, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz stressed his country’s ability to handle the effects of the “cowardly” attacks.

The attacks, Salman said, not only targeted vital installations of the Kingdom, but also target global oil supplies and threaten the stability of the global economy.

“If the attacks were initiated from Iran, the truth is they would just be the latest in the series of increasing dangerous escalations instigated by the Islamic Republic,” Pence added.

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