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New unmanned bomb boat found off Yemen

14 September 2018
The explosive-rigged boat is seen in a photograph released by the Fifth Military Region. Source: Fifth Military Region

A new type of unmanned explosive-rigged boat has been discovered by pro-government forces off Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

The Fifth Military Region, a command that includes the coastal province of Hajjah that neighbours Saudi Arabia, reported on 8 September that one of its naval patrols had chanced upon what it described as a “booby-trapped boat belonging to the Houthi militia” near Al-Fasht Island the previous day. Al-Fasht is 45 km west of the Hajjah coast.

The Fifth Military Region said the craft was set up to be controlled by Global Positioning System (GPS) and carried explosives in wooden boxes that were distributed in various locations. It added that it was being dealt with by military engineers helped by experts from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).

It released photographs showing what appeared to be a purpose-built boat that was designed to lie low in the water, making it difficult to detect. It was powered by a 200 hp outboard engine and had a steering wheel.

In his weekly briefing on 11 September, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Ansar Allah, the Yemeni rebel group popularly known as the Houthis, said the boat was found after intelligence was received about an impending attack, prompting a search by coalition and Yemeni forces.

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