Claim of Yemeni attempt to target commercial ship in Red Sea baseless: Army
Story Code : 803960
“We emphasize what the spokesman of the (Saudi-led) coalition of aggression, [Colonel Turki al-Maliki] said today about our armed forces’ attempt to target a vessel in the Red Sea is purely unfounded and fabricated. Such a ridiculous claim attests to the level of military, political and humanitarian failure that the coalition has suffered,” Brigadier General Yahya Saree said on Monday evening.
He added, “We consider it a failed attempt to deflect international public opinion, justify the continuation of their aggression and unjust siege on Yemen in general and the province of Hudaydah in particular, and to evade their responsibilities under the Sweden agreement.”
Earlier in the day, Turki was quoted by Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying that naval forces from the Saudi-led military alliance had intercepted and destroyed a “booby-trapped boat,” laden with explosives while it was speeding toward a commercial ship in the southern Red Sea.
There were no details of the targeted ship.
Under the Stockholm deal struck last December in Sweden, representatives from the Houthi Ansarullah movement and Yemen's ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi agreed to withdraw their troops from Hudaydah's main port and two other nearby ports, as well as Hudaydah city, and allow deployment of UN monitors.
Last month, Ansarullah fighters unilaterally pulled out of the ports of Saleef, used for grain, Ras Isa oil terminal and Hudaydah, under the first phase of the Stockholm peace deal.
Under the first phase, the Houthis were expected to pull back five kilometers from the three ports, while Saudi-backed pro-Hadi forces were required to be stationed four kilometers from Hudaydah.
A second phase of withdrawal is scheduled to follow, in which both sides pull their troops 18 kilometers outside of Hudaydah and heavy weapons 30 kilometers away.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.