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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Coalition thwarts Houthi boat attack from Hodeidah

Launch of speedboat loaded with explosives is rebels' latest attempt to disrupt shipping in the Red Sea

A seaborne attack by the Houthis was quashed by the Arab Coalition. AFP
A seaborne attack by the Houthis was quashed by the Arab Coalition. AFP

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen foiled a Houthi seaborne attack on Thursday, just weeks after the rebels targeted two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea.

The coalition said the explosives-laden speedboat was launched from Hodeidah, the rebel-held port city on the Red Sea Coast. It did not identify the target of the attack.

The coalition, which supports Yemen's internationally recognised government against the Iran-backed rebels, says the Houthis are using the port to smuggle in weapons and launch attacks on shipping.

Saudi Arabia stopped oil shipments through the Red Sea for about a week after the Houthi attack on its tankers in the Bab Al Mandeb, a narrow waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Shipping was resumed on August 4 after "all necessary procedures were taken by the coalition leadership to protect ships of the coalition countries", the Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Falih said.

The Houthis announced a two-week suspension of attacks in the Bab Al Mandeb from August 1. That has now expired.

The Bab Al Mandeb is a crucial route for shipping between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, with about 4.8 million barrels of oil and petroleum products passing through the strait every day, according to US government figures.

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War in Yemen:

Explosives expert killed while defusing bomb in Aden

Yemeni army storms key Houthi district in rebel stronghold

Beyond the Headlines podcast: The importance of the Bab Al Mandeb strait

UK foreign secretary backs Saudi ties before US talks

Aden port officials foil attempt to smuggle Yemeni antiques

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Also on Thursday, the coalition said the Houthis struck a recently liberated village in Durayhimi district of Hodeidah province with an Iranian-made ballistic missile, killing a child and injuring dozens of civilians.

The Emirates Red Crescent rushed aid to the village of Al Ghalifqa following the attack, the UAE news agency Wam reported.