Arab News

Arab coalition destroys 2 bomb-rigged Houthi boats off Yemen’s Hodeidah port

- Saeed Al-Batati Alexandria

The Arab coalition intercepte­d and destroyed two Houthi boats rigged with bombs off Yemen’s Hodeidah port as the militants were preparing for an operation, state TV AlEkhbariy­a reported on Saturday. The coalition said the Iranbacked militia continues to threaten maritime navigation and world trade in the southern Red Sea, in violation of the Stockholm Agreement due to its continued hostile operations against Hodeidah. Saudi air defenses earlier intercepte­d an armed drone launched by the Houthis from Yemen toward

southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt, the coalition said. Meanwhile, Yemenis have expressed hope for a deal to end the war, amid reports that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will name a new envoy to the country. Politician­s, rights activists and experts want the new envoy, tipped to be EU Ambassador to Yemen Hans Grundberg, to apply an inclusive approach for mediation between the warring parties.

Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, Yemen’s former foreign minister, hailed the Swedish national as an experience­d envoy with knowledge about the complicati­ons of the crisis as he had been working as a diplomat in the country for years. Activists said the envoy should focus on ending Houthi rights abuses and secure the release of hundreds of war prisoners.

“We strongly demand he personally pay attention to the issue of abducted and detained women in Houthi prisons and to provide them with psychologi­cal and legal support,” Amat Al-Salam Al-Hajj, chair of the Mothers of Abductees Associatio­n, an umbrella organizati­on for thousands of female relatives of war prisoners, told Arab News. Yassin Saeed Noaman, Yemen’s ambassador to the UK, said Grundthe berg would succeed in brokering a peace deal in Yemen if the EU used its relationsh­ip with Iran to pressure the Houthis to accept peace initiative­s.

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