houthi militias threat against maritime navigation red sea
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

As insurgents shelled Taiz

Houthi militias threat against maritime navigation Red Sea

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Houthi militias threat against maritime navigation Red Sea

Houthi militias pose threat against maritime navigation Red Sea
Aden - Abdel Ghani Yahia

Houthi militia and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh repeatedly and indiscriminately shelled populated neighborhoods of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, in violation of the laws of war, a rights group said on Wednesday. At least 30 civilians died and more than 160 were injured in the artillery bombardment over a 10-day period in May.

“Houthi-Saleh forces’ shelling of populated areas of Taiz has taken a terrible toll on civilians,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s Middle East director. “Their commanders should immediately halt these indiscriminate attacks.”

Houthi-Saleh forces have repeatedly fired mortar bombs and artillery shells from an elevated area in Al-Hawban district indiscriminately into populated areas in Taiz over the past two years, Human Rights Watch said.

The government-affiliated forces of internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have controlled most of Taiz since March 2016. Local monitors, including one in Al-Hawban district, have reported numerous indiscriminate attacks by Houthi-Saleh forces into the city.

Mwatana, a leading Yemeni human rights organization, said Houthi-Saleh forces were responsible for most of the dozens of indiscriminate shelling incidents they documented in Taiz between April 2015 and March 2016.

A local activist, Faris Al-Obidi, prepared a list of casualties from attacks over the three days in May when shelling in Taiz was particularly heavy, after speaking with witnesses and survivors and consulting logs at Taiz’s three hospitals. The list, which he shared with Human Rights Watch, had the names, ages and dates of injuries for 54 civilians. Among the 14 dead were three children and two women.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Dumaini, technical director at Al-Thawra, Taiz city’s main hospital, said the hospital received 58 war-wounded civilians between May 20 and 26, including 20 children, plus three people who died before arrival, including a child. He said the vast majority of these casualties were from shelling.

For the second time in ten days, international maritime navigation in the Red Sea came under direct threat from Yemen’s Houthi militias. Official reports stated that the militias launched a ballistic missile towards south of Red Sea near al-Mandeb Strait through which a third of the world’s oil carriers pass. Sources said the missile most likely fell in international waters in the Red Sea.

The missile, launched from Hajjah governorate, is the second threat to the navigation in the Red Sea following the attack on al-Mokha port with a bomb-laden boat. The attack was deemed by the Saudi-led coalition as a threaten to the international navigation and regional and international security. The coalition added that the threat impeded the arrival of humanitarian and relief aid to the Yemeni people.

Only three months after operation Decisive Storm was launched in 2015, Houthis began targeting navigation in the Red Sea. Back then, the coalition forces took control of an island which the militants made a storage for ready-to-launch missiles.

As the Yemeni army takes control of larger areas of the country, militias are trying to implement a “preemptive” strategy by escalating attacks, whether against Saudi territories or threatening the security of international navigation.

Head of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saudi Shura Council Zuhair al-Harthi believed that the attempts to impede the navigation is Iran’s main goal through its Houthi affiliates, who had been trained in Lebanon’s Bekaa region under the supervision of the Iran-backed “Hezbollah”.

Harthi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that main goal is to expand Tehran’s presence in the region by destabilizing countries that overlook the Mandeb Strait. According to his analysis, Iran is using Houthis to destabilize Saudi Arabia’s security through targeting Red Sea navigation. He underlined the strategic location of Yemen from a geopolitical point of view, noting that it lies south of the largest oil-producing country in the world, overlooks Mandeb Strait and faces the Horn of Africa.

Harthi called on the international community to unite to confront Iran and its continuous attempts to create a chaos in the Red Sea by supporting Houthis pirates. He reiterated that any Iranian control of the Mandeb Strait will affect the international oil supply and create economic turmoil. He stressed that Iran must be held accountable for its transgressions, adding that it is important for the stability of the region and safety of international navigation.

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