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Yemen: Houthis accuse Saudi-led coalition of seizing 17 ships loaded with food and oil

A picture taken on November 22, 2018, shows a partial view of the port of the Red Sea city of Hudaydah [STR / AFP /Getty Images]
A partial view of the port of the Red Sea city of Hudaydah on 22 November 2018 [STR / AFP /Getty Images]

On Thursday, the Houthi movement in Yemen accused the Saudi-led Arab coalition of seizing 17 ships carrying food and oil supplies, and blocking its passage into the country.

The pro-Houthi Al-Masirah TV quoted an official in Al-Hudaydah sea port stating that: “The marine forces of the Saudi-US led coalition have seized 14 ships loaded with petroleum derivative fuel and three other vessels carrying food supplies, despite the fact that all the ships have obtained UN-approved entry permits in Djibouti.”

The source pointed out that the oil ships carry more than 320,000 tonnes on board.

The Arab coalition did not comment on the matter, however, the Yemeni government has already held the Houthis responsible for the oil ships’ delayed arrival, due to the movement’s non-compliance with the fuel import regulations supervised by the Economic Committee of the legitimate government.

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On Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition announced a comprehensive and unilateral ceasefire in Yemen for two weeks, starting from Thursday.

Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the coalition, affirmed that the declared truce is: “An extension of international efforts in Yemen that seek to launch rounds of negotiation.”

For the sixth year running, Yemen is still witnessing a violent war that led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, where 80 per cent of the population is in need of aid. The armed conflict in the country has pushed millions to the brink of starvation.

The UN indicated that during the ongoing conflict, 70,000 people were killed and wounded, while previous human rights reports have estimated that the war has led to the deaths of a minimum of 100,000 Yemenis.

The complexity of the conflict is further heightened by the fact that regional parties have undertaken a role in it, and since March 2015, an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has carried out military operations in Yemen in support of government forces, in the face of Iranian-backed Houthis, who control several provinces including the capital, Sanaa.

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