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Saudi-led coalition impounding 20 ships loaded with food, oil off Yemen coast: Official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, Yemen, on April 17, 2017. (Photo by the United Nations)

The Saudi-led coalition waging a brutal military campaign against Yemen is reportedly seizing nearly two dozen ships carrying food and oil supplies for the impoverished and war-ravaged Arab country.

An unnamed official at Hudaydah port said 20 vessels, loaded with thousands of tons of oil derivatives and foodstuff, are stranded off the coast of Yemen, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported on Thursday.

He added that the vessels had undergone inspection by the United Nations and obtained the relevant documents to dock at the Yemeni port.

 “The continued detention of the ships in light of the coronavirus pandemic attests to the sheer brutality of the [Saudi-led] alliance and its lack of seriousness as regards [Yemen’s] peace talks,” Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi told al-Masirah TV.

He added that the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of Yemen is keeping out fuel and food needed for the Yemeni population in an attempt to exacerbate economic strains on them.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, US and other Western nations.

At least 80 percent of the 28 million-strong population is also reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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