Saudi foils Yemen rebels boat attack in Red Sea

Riyadh: The Saudi-led coalition said on Thursday it had foiled a booby-trapped boat attack by Yemen’s Huthis in the Red Sea weeks after the rebels hit a Saudi oil tanker.

A statement cited by state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel did not identify the target of the attack but the rebel-run Saba news agency said the Huthis hit a Saudi military target inside the kingdom’s territorial waters. It gave no further details.

The coalition statement said “the terrorist attack by a booby-trapped boat was launched from the shores of Hodeida,” a city off the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb straits.

The coalition, which has been fighting the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite militias since March 2015, accused the Huthis and the Iranian revolutionary guards of continuing to threaten international navigation routes and world trade.

It also reaffirmed that the protection of the Bab Al-Mandeb waterway is an international responsibility.

Last month, the Huthi rebels hit a giant Saudi oil tanker in the strategic waterway off Yemen coast causing minor damage.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil supplier, on July 26 halted exports through Bab Al-Mandeb as a result of the attack before resuming the shipments 10 days later.

Bab al-Mandab is a crucial shipping lane between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, linking the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

About 4.8 million barrels of oil and petroleum products pass through the strait every day, according to US government figures.