Saudi-led coalition says foiled Red Sea attack by Yemen's Houthis


Sun, 23-02-2020 12:32 AM, Aden Time

DUBAI (Reuters) - Naval forces from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on Sunday foiled an “imminent terrorist” attack by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in the southern Red Sea, a major commercial shipping channel, the Saudi-led coalition said.

The forces destroyed an unmanned boat laden with explosives that was launched from Hodeidah province in western Yemen, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA, without identifying the targets.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Houthi movement which has been battling the Sunni Muslim military coalition since 2015 in a conflict that is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and arch-foe Shi’ite Iran.

Yemen lies along the Bab al-Mandeb strait at the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes for oil tankers heading from the Middle East to Europe.

Malki said the planned attack posed a threat to regional and international security and maritime trade. He said the use of Hodeidah for operations was a “glaring violation” of a U.N.-led peace deal in the disputed port city that was agreed between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis in December 2018.

Saudi Arabia paused oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb for more than a week in 2018 after the Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.

The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen to try to restore the internationally recognized government that was ousted from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014 by the Houthis, who now control most major urban centers.