Houthi militia ‘planting mines in Bab Al-Mandab Strait
:: The Houthi militia and forces loyal to Yemen’s ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have begun a new wave of mining in the areas around the port of Hodeidah, in an attempt to cause damage to vessels passing through the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, it has been claimed.
According to Yemeni media sources, the Houthi militia and Saleh loyalists, with the direct assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, are planting Iranian-made camouflage mines in the area around the Port of Hodeidah.
The Houthi militia, as per media sources, have brought in a number of specialists in camouflage, mining and booby-trapping from Iran and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently warned of the threat to the international waterway posed by Houthi militia, given the support they receive from Iran. This is confirmed by the techniques used in previous attacks on vessels in Yemeni waters.
In a recent report, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) warned of the danger of mining the international waterway of Bab Al-Mandab. It also recommended the need to carry out joint missions to demine the region.
A joint maritime alliance, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Britain and France and other countries has stepped up deployment after recent attacks on merchant ships.
It pointed out that to counter these threats, the joint naval forces would strengthen their presence west of the Port of Aden in southern Yemen.
A spokesman said that in the last year alone, the force seized vast quantities of weapons in international waters, which could have armed an entire brigade of ground forces.
The seized shipments included 4,000 small arms and 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 machine guns, 20 mortars and nine anti-tank missiles.
“The force set up in 2012 seeks to protect maritime security, combat terrorism and piracy and secure about 3.2 million square miles of international waters through which some of the most important shipping routes in the world pass through,” the spokesman said.