Amid calls for its release, the coalition accuses the Houthis of pirating the Emirati ship “Rawabi”, and the group responds that it was carrying weapons
The Houthi group said that it had seized an Emirati-flagged ship loaded with weapons and military equipment, while the Saudi-led coalition accused it of hijacking a ship carrying medical equipment, amid Arab calls for its release.
The Houthi military spokesman said that the “Rawabi” ship entered Yemeni waters without permission off Hodeidah.
In turn, Muhammad al-Bakhiti, a member of the Houthi group’s political bureau, said that “Rawabi” was detained for several reasons, the most important of which was that it entered Yemeni territorial waters without a permit, and added – in a previous Al Jazeera bulletin – that the ship was carrying weapons, as he put it.
The military spokesman for the Houthis, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, showed scenes of the process of his forces controlling the cargo ship carrying an Emirati flag, and said that it was loaded with weapons and was sailing in Yemeni territorial waters.
The Houthi spokesman indicated that his forces monitored the ship loaded with weapons and military equipment for weeks, and managed for the first time to carry out a military operation against a military cargo ship while it was carrying out its hostile activities at sea and in Yemeni territorial waters.
The Yemeni spokesman directed the Emirati side, saying that the Houthi forces, with their various formations, have the appropriate options, and are ready to respond to any aggressive escalation, as he put it.
The coalition had announced that the Emirati cargo ship “Rawabi” had been subjected to piracy and armed robbery by the Houthi militia, off the Yemeni city of Hodeidah, according to him.
The spokesman for the coalition said that the operation is a real threat to the freedom of maritime navigation and international trade in the Red Sea, and that the hijacked ship carries equipment for operating the Saudi hospital on the Yemeni island of Socotra, adding that the coalition will take the necessary measures to deal with this violation, including the use of force when necessary. , according to him.
According to international navigation data, the ship “Rawabi” sailed from the Saudi oil port of Ras “al-Tanura”, bearing the UAE flag, and was scheduled to head to the Saudi port of “Jazan” on the Red Sea in the south of the country, but it was intercepted off the island of “Kamaran” in The Red Sea of Al-Hodeidah Governorate, and she was taken to the Yemeni shore.
For his part, the Saudi writer and political analyst Munif Ammash Al-Harbi described what the Ansar Allah Houthi group had done as piracy, considering that the strikes received by the Houthis on more than one front prompted them to hijack the “Rawabi” ship in the territorial waters.
Al-Harbi added – in an interview in a previous Al-Jazeera bulletin – that the coalition’s reaction to this operation will be qualitative, as he put it.
Invitations to launch
Today, Monday, Arab countries and an Islamic organization condemned the detention of the Emirati cargo ship by the Yemeni Houthi group, and called for its immediate release.
Through a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt condemned the Houthi militia’s hijacking of the ship, and called for its immediate release.
Both Jordan and Bahrain expressed their strong condemnation of what they described as maritime piracy that threatens navigation.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (which includes 57 countries and is headquartered in Jeddah) also expressed its strong condemnation of the piracy, kidnapping and criminal act, calling for the immediate release of the ship, according to a statement.