Yemen's Houthis claims attack on Saudi warship off western coast

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-26 01:22:00|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SANAA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi rebels said they attacked a Saudi warship off the Yemeni western coast on Wednesday, in a statement published by Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.

"The naval forces today targeted the Saudi Dammam warship," read the statement.

However, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that the Yemeni rebels attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea, causing slight damage.

A top Houthi official at the group's political bureau, who asked not to be named, told Xinhua that "the Saudi ship was in a war zone."

On June 13, the Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition began an all-out offensive to retake the strategic port city.

Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, which also led the coalition operations, declared a pause in the military operations inside the densely populated Hodeidah city to support the UN envoy's peace efforts, which is aimed at convincing the rebels to withdraw from the city to avoid military conflicts and more casualties.

On July 10, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met the internationally-recognized President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in his office in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden to push for resuming stalled peace efforts with his government's foe Houthi rebels.

Griffiths' visit came a week after his meeting with Houthi leader AbdulMalik Houthi in Sanaa, which he described as "fruitful."

Humanitarian agencies have warned that any military attack on the port could lead to the world's biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history.

Hodeidah is the single most important point of entry for food and basic supplies to Yemen's northern provinces controlled by Houthis, including the capital Sanaa.

The rebels stormed the capital Sanaa, Hodeidah and other northern populated cities in late 2014 and forced Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh. They said their move was a revolution against alleged government corruption.

The coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict in March 2015 to roll back the Houthi rebels and reinstate exiled government of Hadi.