A Saudi oil tanker was targeted by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Tuesday afternoon local time off Yemen’s port of Hodeidah, sustaining minor damages and completing its course north, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reported, citing the Arab coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen.
One of the Saudi oil tankers was attacked west of Hodeidah, a port currently under Houthi control, Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition told Al Arabiya.
The attack was thwarted after one of the Arab coalition’s ships intercepted the attempt. Sustaining minor damage, the oil tanker completed its course accompanied by the coalition ship, Al Arabiya reports.
According to the Arab coalition, the port of Hodeidah is still being used as a launch pad for “terrorist operations” as well as missiles and weapons smuggling.
The Houthi Shiite rebel group is aligned with Iran and has been fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015.
Houthi rebels have fired or claimed to have fired many missiles on Saudi Arabia since then, but they have caused little damage, and many of those missiles have been intercepted by the Saudi military.
At the end of last year, the Houthis threatened that they would start attacking oil tankers and warships sailing under enemy flag if the Gulf coalition fighting it in the country does not reopen its ports.
Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea. Millions of barrels of crude oil pass Yemeni shores from the Suez Canal en route to Europe every day. Related: Are We Sleepwalking Into The Next Oil Crisis?
More recently, the Houthi movement claimed to have fired a ballistic missile targeting Saudi Aramco in the southern Saudi province of Najran two weeks ago. Aramco responded to the reports by saying that all oil and gas facilities, plants, and refineries in Saudi Arabia were operating normally.
Missile strikes from Yemen to populated areas in Saudi Arabia continued at the end of last month.
Human Rights Watch said on Monday that “Houthi forces in Yemen violated the laws of war by launching ballistic missiles indiscriminately at populated areas in Saudi Arabia on March 25, 2018.”
“But just as unlawful coalition airstrikes don’t justify the Houthi’s indiscriminate attacks, the Saudis can’t use Houthi rockets to justify impeding life-saving goods for Yemen’s civilian population,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said yesterday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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