Houthis target Saudi oil tanker off Yemen

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced yesterday that it had thwarted an attack on a Saudi oil tanker over the weekend, Reuters reported.

A Houthi vehicle-borne explosive boat travelled towards the oil tanker on Saturday, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition said in a weekly conference at King Salman Base in Saudi Arabia.

“In a blatant violation of international law, the Iranian-Houthi militia on Saturday attempted an attack by three remote-controlled drone boats, targeting a Saudi oil tanker and threatening to disrupt navigation in Bab El-Mandeb strait,” Colonel Turki Al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki continued to say the Houthis are using the port of Hudaydah as a means for “smuggling advanced weaponry, but also as a launch pad for attacks on international ships”.

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“The Iran-backed militias are training their member terrorists on targeting marine navigation in the Red Sea and the straits of Bab El-Mandeb,” Al-Maliki continued.

Earlier this week, Saleh Al-Samad, a Houthi political figure warned that the group would disrupt shipping routes in the Red Sea if the Yemen army continue its march on the west coast leading to Hudaydah port.

A new alliance to fight the Houthis led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s national army has been joined by UAE backed forces, the Southern Transitional Council, and the Tihama tribe located on the west coast. The new alliance already recaptured the district of Khokha in December.

Hudaydah is a strategic port in Yemen with access to the Red Sea. The Saudi-led coalition is heavily monitoring shipments in the Red Sea and Bab El-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Djibouti for weapons being smuggled to the Houthis.

Last year, the US revealed evidence which it says proves Iran is supplying Yemen’s Houthis with weapons which are used to attack Saudi Arabia. The alleged Iranian weapons were retrieved by US partners, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, all of whom are party to the conflict in Yemen battling against the Houthi group.

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