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Saudi-led Arab Coalition Responds to Houthi-led Attack on UAE Aid Ship | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke rises following airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led alliance, in Sana’a, Yemen, 6 January 2016. EPA

Aden, Cairo- Saudi-led Arab coalition running a military campaign to restore Yemen’s legitimacy launched a series of intensified airstrikes against various sights in Houthi-held Sana’a on Sunday.

The raids come in response to Houthi militants claiming a previous attack against a vessel operated by the United Arab Emirates military, which is part of an Arab coalition fighting in support of Yemen’s government.

Yemeni locals reported to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the coalition’s recent offensive targeted insurgency weapon stockpiles located west of the capital Sana’a. Sources add that the air campaign targeted militia hubs in the Nihm District.

The coalition has been aiding the elected and internationally recognized government to retake control over the war-torn country. Most fighting includes Iran-backed militants staging an insurgency along with the aid of combatants supporting ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The UAE military said on Saturday that a boat under its command was involved in an “incident” in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait off Yemen’s southern coast. The vessel was attacked by Houthi militants. But the coalition rescued its civilian passengers.

The Houthis claimed the attack, saying that their forces had destroyed a UAE military vessel that was advancing toward the Red Sea port of Al-Mokha.

“Armed forces destroyed with a missile a military vessel belonging to the forces of the UAE,” a military official was quoted as saying by the Saba Yemeni news agency, run by the dominant Houthi movement since it seized Sana’a, last year.

In a statement, the Arab coalition said the vessel belonged to the UAE Marine Dredging Company “on its usual route to and from Aden to transfer relief and medical aid and evacuate wounded civilians to complete their treatment outside Yemen.”

“Coalition air and naval forces were targeting Houthi militia boats involved in the attack,” it said.

The coalition said the incident showed that Houthi tactics involved what it called “terrorist attacks” against civilian international navigation in the waterway.

For its part, Gulf Cooperation Council member states condemned the attack, considering it a clear violation against international maritime law and an act of terror which attacks international and regional efforts to send relief to Yemen.