Houthi rebels detained a cargo ship flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates because of its involvement in “hostile action”. According to the Yemeni rebels, the ship was carrying military equipment, including armored vehicles and weapons, and was taken to the Salif port in western Yemen. The Saudis say the ship was carrying medical equipment.
Houthi rebels allied with Iran control much of Yemen’s northern coast. The cargo ship headed to the Saudi port of Jazan, north of Yemen, and left the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra. Saudi state-run SPA news agency reported that the ship was carrying equipment from a closed field hospital.
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Saudi Arabia has led a military coalition allied in the fight against the Houthi rebels for more than six years. The coalition accused the rebels of attacks on freight transport in the Red Sea, where one of the busiest sea routes leading to the Suez Canal is located.
According to a Saudi news agency, the ship was hijacked from the Yemeni port of Al-Hudajda. A spokesman for the Houthis rebels said the ship was intended to carry military equipment, including armored vehicles and weapons, and was involved in “hostile actions against the security and stabilization of the Yemenis.” Reuters writes that the ship has been dropped off at Salif port in western Yemen.
Attack on the ship
The UK’s anti-piracy bureau (UKMTO) announced on Sunday night that it had received reports of an attack on a ship near the Ras Isa oil terminal, which is located north of the port of Al Hudayda. It was unclear whether it was one and the same attack on an Emirati cargo ship. The UKMTO asked that special care be taken in the vicinity of these ports. The investigation is ongoing.
The last attack in the Ras Isa area occurred in 2019, when Houthi rebels briefly intercepted one Saudi and two South Korean ships.
The tense situation in Yemen
Yemen has been in chaos since 2011. An international coalition of countries dominated by Sunni Muslims: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, Senegal, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, led by Saudi Arabia, has been fighting in Yemen since 2015 with the Houthis supported by Iran under the slogan restoring the jurisdiction of lawful authorities throughout Yemen’s territory.
According to the Reuters Agency, in 2021 Houthis carried out an average of 78 attacks against Saudi Arabia a month, while in 2020 the average was 38. The main attacks under attack are airports and the infrastructure of the mining and oil processing industry in Saudi Arabia.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / HOUTHIS MOVEMENT HANDOUT