Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi group announced that they had captured a UAE-flagged ship off the coast of Hodeidah, a western province of the country.
While the Houthis claimed that the ship carried military supplies, the Saudi-led coalition said the vessel shipped medical equipment, and accused the Yemeni group of piracy.
Posting a message on his Twitter account, Yahya Saree, the Houthi group military spokesperson, said, “the vessel entered Yemeni waters without authorization off the coast of Hodeidah and was carrying out hostile acts.”
The Arab Coalition, on the other hand, claimed that the vessel transported medical supplies from a disassembled Saudi field hospital in Socotra Island. The Houthi group’s move drew reaction from the Coalition.
Issuing a statement on the incident, the Arab Coalition’s spokesperson Brigadier General Turki Al Maliki said, “The Houthi militia must immediately release the ship, otherwise the coalition forces shall take all necessary measures and procedures to deal with this violation, including the use of force.”
Against the Coalition’s claims, the Houthis shared a video clip from the captured-vessel, through their media outlets, which shows military-style inflatable rafts, trucks, and other vehicles on the ship.
“It is completely obvious today that the information that this hip was carrying a civilian field hospital is not correct… this is clearly military equipment,” Yahya Saree added.
The clashes between the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Houthi group have intensified recently. Last week, the coalition forces reported that they had carried over thirty airstrikes aimed at the Houthi military targets.