Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has threatened that it could strike warships and oil tankers of the Saudi-led coalition in retaliation for the blockade the military alliance has imposed on the Yemeni ports, particularly the southwestern port of Hudaydah.
“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),” Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network quoted a Houthi military commander as saying on Sunday.
According to the news channel, the decision on targeting enemy vessels was made after a meeting of naval officials who had discussed the possible response to the closure of ports in the impoverished country.
Back in September, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of the movement, said that his fighters could target Saudi oil tankers should the invading alliance attack the vital port of Hudaydah.
Meanwhile, the head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, also said that his fighters would target oil installations in Saudi Arabia with missiles if the coalition attacked Hudaydah.
On November 4, the Saudi military announced that it had intercepted a missile launched by the Houthis over an airport near the Saudi capital, prompting Riyadh to close all land, air and sea ports in Yemen. The strike appeared to be the deepest yet within the Saudi territory.
The Saudi-led coalition further alleged that Iran had been behind the strike through its support of the Houthis, saying it could be “considered as an act of war.” Iran was quick in dismissing the Saudi allegations as a “lie,” saying Riyadh was resorting to “destructive, irresponsible, provocative and baseless” allegations after failing to achieve its “ominous aims” in Yemen.
Since March 2015, the Saudi regime has been heavily bombarding Yemen as part of a brutal campaign against its impoverished southern neighbor in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the Houthi movement, which is in control of large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sana'a. The Saudi campaign, however, has failed to achieve its goals.
Over the past two years, the Houthis have been running the state affairs and defending the people against the Saudi aggression.
Latest figures show that the war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more. The military campaign has also taken a heavy toll on the country's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.
Saudi Arabia has also imposed a total embargo on Yemen, causing severe food and medicine shortages and a cholera epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 people. After nearly three years of the imposed war, the impoverished nation has seven million people on the verge of famine and has had 900,000 suspected cholera cases in the past six months.