Published: Wed, November 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Saudi-led coalition says Yemeni rebels hijacked vessel

Saudi-led coalition says Yemeni rebels hijacked vessel

Yemen's Houthi militia have confirmed that they've seized a vessel in the Red Sea, and said that the ship will be released if it is confirmed that it belongs to South Korea, Reuters has reported.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthis said the seized vessels included a Korean drilling rig and the Saudi tug, the Rabigh 3, which was captured by armed Houthi fighters who attacked from two boats.

The rebel group claims the vessels trespassed into its territorial waters.

"The seized South Korean ships were set free along with crew members", Hussein al-Ezzay, a senior Houthi official, was quoted by the Houthi-run Yemen Press Agency as saying.

Al-Houthi added there is no need to worry about the crew, and that they would be released soon if found to be of South Korean affiliation.

Both South Korean vessels were owned by builder Woongjin Development Co., the foreign ministry said.

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The Saudis say the Houthis represent a threat to one of the world's most important maritime trade routes.

On Tuesday, the Houthis acknowledged they had seized three ships in the Red Sea a few miles off Uqban island, west of the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the Houthis after they ousted the government from power in Sanaa.

A US -led maritime coalition formally launched operations in the region earlier this month, following a series of attacks on vessels and onshore facilities that some coalition members blamed on Iran.

All of 16 people overseas three vessels, including two of South Korean nationality, were released by the Yemeni rebels at about 00:40 a.m. local time Wednesday.

The rebels said the vessels were taken to the Yemeni port of Salif, the group's Al-Masirah TV reported.

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