HODEIDA, YEMEN — On Wednesday Yemen’s navy targeted a Saudi warship off Yemen’s western coast in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition’s deadly military offensive against Hodeida, a lifeline for the majority of Yemen’s population.
The attack on Hodeida — Yemen’s fourth largest city and its main port on the Red Sea, responsible for providing over 70 percent of Yemenis’ food, aid and medicine — has gained speed this week after the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition rejected an initiative from the United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, aimed at ending the fighting in the port city and surrounding areas.
A military source in the Yemeni Navy told MintPress that it targeted the Saudi military’s Dammam battleship with a domestically-manufactured missile, dubbed the Mandab, which was unveiled on November 7, 2017. “The warship was carrying out hostile acts in the territorial waters of Yemen when it was targeted,” according to the military source.
The Saudi-led coalition acknowledged the Dammam was targeted by a naval missile but claims that the ship was an oil tanker and only sustained “slight damage.” The Royal Saudi Navy does sail a French-made frigate by the name of Al Dammam.
The Saudi warship destroyed by Yemeni navy forces off the western coast (Red Sea) today is
French-made, offensive Frigate ( Dammam 816).
Saudi navy forces have only 3 Frigates:
Dammam 816. pic.twitter.com/PtSMUz81Sx
— Nasser Arrabyee (@narrabyee) July 25, 2018
The attack comes three days after Yemen’s Special Naval Forces carried out its first seaborne offensive against the Saudi coalition near the port of al-Mokha in western Yemen. That attack targeted a landing dock and marina loaded with weapons and ammunition.
A Yemeni military source told MintPress that Yemen’s missile attacks destroyed weapons storage facilities, command rooms, and reinforcements. According to the source, several coalition fighters were killed or injured in the offensive, including some prominent leaders. He added:
The operation was carried out from the seaside when the port was packed with military ordnance and ammunition, which was a big surprise for the Saudi-led forces. Loud explosions have been heard all along coastal of Mokha and these explosions continued for a long time.”
So far, there has been no comment from the Saudi-led coalition regarding the al-Mokha strike. There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties either.
The Dammam frigate is the latest in a series of battleships targeted by Yemen’s Navy. Last month, the Navy managed to target a warship belonging to the Saudi-led coalition off the coast of Mokha Port city in Ta’izz Province.
In June, Yemen’s Navy reportedly targeted a Saudi military vessel in a missile attack off the coast of Yemen’s southwestern province of Hodeida.
On January 30, the Yemen Army, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, fired a guided missile at the al-Madinah warship in waters near Hodeida.
On January 21, the Yemeni Coast Guard warned enemy battleships against using the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, to bomb civilian targets, emphasizing that such a practice poses a grave threat to international maritime navigation in the area.
In October of 2016, Yemeni forces and Popular Committees fighters destroyed an HSV-2 swift hybrid catamaran belonging to the United Arab Emirates off the shores of Mokha.
Top Photo | The Royal Saudi Navy frigate Al Dammam (816) maneuvers into position, with its embarked AS565 SA Dauphin helicopter circling overhead, during exercise “Eager Lion 2014” in the Gulf of Aden. U.S. Navy photo
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.
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