Saudi TV: Houthi sea mine strikes cargo ship in Red Sea
CAIRO (AP) - A sea mine planted by Yemen's Houthi rebels hit a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea on Friday, Saudi Arabia's state television reported, without giving further details.
Al-Ekhbariya quoted the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has been fighting against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen since 2015. The coalition did not identify the ship and did not elaborate on the attack. The US Navy's 5th Fleet, patrolling the Middle East, did not respond to a request for comment. The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, an information exchange monitored by the British Royal Navy in the area, did not immediately acknowledge the incident.
The report follows a series of attacks on Saudi energy infrastructure that have sparked ship safety concerns in the Red Sea, a critical transit zone for global shipping and energy that largely broke the chaos of regional tensions between the US and Iran over the past year had avoided.
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Earlier this month, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen announced it had recently discovered and destroyed 171 sea mines sent into the waters of the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels. Houthi military officials have not commented on the recent allegations.
Any mining of the Red Sea is a danger not only to Saudi Arabia but also to the rest of the world. Mines can get into the water and then be swept away by currents, which change depending on the season.
Less than two weeks ago, an explosion struck an oil tanker off the Saudi port city of Jiddah and closed the kingdom's main shipping point. The Saudis blamed a bomb-laden boat for the explosion used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a US-backed military coalition against the Houthis, who overran most of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, last year. This forced the US-recognized government to flee south. The war in the poorest country in the Arab world killed more than 112,000 people, including thousands of civilians. The conflict has also resulted in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
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