Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Saudi-led coalition launches military operation north of Hodeidah in Yemen

A coalition spokesman said the operation hit Houthi targets ‘that pose a threat to regional and international security’

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Malik during a press conference on Septmeber 16, 2019 in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reuters. 
Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Malik during a press conference on Septmeber 16, 2019 in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reuters. 

The Saudi-led coalition on Friday launched a military operation north of Yemen's port city of Hodeidah on drone and sea mine factories.

The coalition said it had destroyed four sites used in assembling remote-controlled boats and mines to help protect the freedom of navigation.

"These sites are used to carry out attacks and terrorist operations that threaten shipping lines and international trade in the Bab Al Mandeb Strait and the southern Red Sea," coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki said.

Col Al Malki said the Houthis used Hodeidah to "launch ballistic missiles, drones, booby-trapped and remote-controlled boats, as well as for indiscriminate deployment of sea mines."

The western-backed Arab Coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis pushed put the internationally recognised government from Sanaa in late 2014.

The Hodeidah ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreement was reached last year at peace talks in Sweden as trust-building measures to pave the way for talks to end the war.

But they stalled for months before the Houthis withdrew from three Red Sea ports.

The coalition urged civilians to stay away from the four sites and said the military operation was conducted in line with international humanitarian law, with necessary precautionary measures.

On Thursday night, the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed an explosives-laden boat launched from Yemen by the Houthi group.

The Houthis, who have threatened to widen attacks on Saudi Arabia, have in the past targeted vessels off Yemen, which lies on one side of the Bab Al Mandeb at the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the world's most vital oil tanker routes.

The incident comes as the US and Saudi Arabia consider responses to the assault on Saudi oil facilities, which Washington blames on Iran.

Updated: September 20, 2019 04:26 AM

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