Yemen’s Houthi movement warned that it could attack warships and oil tankers from enemy countries, in retaliation against the closure of Yemeni ports by a Saudi-led military coalition earlier this month, Reuters reported.
The Shia-led political movement was recently accused by Saudi Arabia for firing a ballistic missile towards Riyadh airport. In response, the Saudi-led coalition closed access to Yemeni ports, in order to stop arms supply to the Houthis.
However, the United Nations noted that the ports’ closure could result in thousands of Yemeni people starving to death, as the country depends mostly on imports amid the intense three-year conflict.
Saudi-led coalition has though said that supplies could maintain access to Yemen despite the closure of its ports, but this has not become feasible yet.
“The battleships and oil tankers of the aggression and their movements will not be safe from the fire of Yemeni naval forces if they are directed by the senior leadership (to attack),” the Houthis’ official media outlet Al Masirah was quoted as saying by Reuters, citing a military commander.
Al Masirah namely said that the decision to threaten coalition vessels was taken following a meeting of naval officials who had discussed the possible response to the closure of Yemeni ports, Reuters further reported.
The firing of the missile in early November has further risen diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which Riyadh blames for supplying the missile to the Houthis, although Iran denies accusations.