In the latest attempt by Houthi rebels to strike directly at Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom said Tuesday a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea was hit in a Houthi attack off Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, Al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday, citing a statement from the Saudi-led coalition.
The oil tanker was attacked by Houthi rebels at 1:30pm local time on Tuesday, said Colonel Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the coalition forces, as quoted by Al Arabiya. He said the attack took place in international waters west of the port of Hodeidah, which is under the control of Houthi armed militias.
Al-Maliki said the attack failed after one of the alliance's naval vessels intervened, adding that the oil tanker suffered only minor damage. The vessel continued on its navigational line and sailed north following the incident, while being accompanied by alliance ships.
As Reuters adds, the Iran-aligned Houthi group said they had targeted a warship of the coalition in the Red Sea in response to an air strike in Yemen’s Hodeidah province on Monday.
More details from Al Arabiya, google translated:
Col. Turki al-Maliki explained that the attempt failed after the intervention of one of the naval vessels of the alliance, and the implementation of the rapid intervention, and resulted in the attack suffered a minor injury to the carrier, and completed its navigational line and sail north accompanied by a naval alliance ships.
He stressed Colonel al - Maliki that this terrorist attack constitutes a serious threat to freedom of navigation and global trade Strait of Bab el Mandeb and the Red Sea, may also cause environmental damage and economic, and that the continuation of these attempts highlights the danger of these militias and those who stand behind them on the regional and international security, and underlines the continued use of # The port of al-Hodeidah as a starting point for terrorist operations, as well as the smuggling of rockets and weapons.
The attack comes a day after the Hodeidah sustained a Saudi-led coalition bombing, which killed at least 12 civilians, including seven children. The airstrike victims were reportedly all from the same family.
Meanwhile, a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea has reportedly been hit and slightly damaged by Houthi rebels who may have been trying to hit a Saudi-led coalition warship. https://t.co/dzWnpOD7k9— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 3, 2018
Late last year, Saudi missile defenses intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile moments before it struck a a royal palace in Riyadh. They've also recently launched an attack on an Aramco facility.
The Yemeni civil war, which erupted three years ago, has morphed into a proxy conflict between KSA and its regional archrival, Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels. Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has carried out airstrikes against the Houthis that've led to the deaths of more than half a million civilians. The Saudi coalition includes forces from other Persian gulf countries.
US lawmakers even considered a bill that would've cut off US aid to Saudi Arabia that would've helped support the Kingdom's allies in the conflict. Millions of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid.