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Saudi-led coalition highlights Yemeni maritime threats

The Saudi-led coalition has re-emphasised the maritime threat from the Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) in the wake of the hijacking of the civilian landing ship Rwabee , in the process revealing previously unreported attacks on naval vessels.

In a televised briefing on 8 January, coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Maliki showed a slide that listed attacks on ships in the Red Sea between April 2018 and March 2020.

This included rocket or missile attacks against the Saudi frigate Hofouf on 12 December 2018, and L64, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy's 64 m landing ships, on 9 or 11 June 2018 (different days were given in the Gregorian and Hijri calendars).

The latter attack may correspond with Ansar Allah's claim on 13 June 2018 that it had repelled a UAE amphibious assault on Al-Hudaydah province when it hit a ship carrying troops and equipment. The UAE announced on the same day that four of its soldiers had been killed in Yemen but provided no details of how they died.

At that time, the coalition justified its offensive against the port city of Al-Hudaydah saying that it was key to Iranian weapons smuggling and launching maritime attacks. The offensive ended with a December 2018 ceasefire agreement under which Ansar Allah was supposed to withdraw from the city.

In his latest briefing, Brig Gen Maliki said Al-Hudaydah's port continues to be used to smuggle Iranian weapons to the rebels. As evidence, he showed video footage of two rocket motors for the ‘Scud'-type ballistic missile purportedly inside a building at the port.

This footage was taken from a documentary about the 2003 invasion of Iraq called Severe Clear

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