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Israeli tourists flocking to Yemeni island of Socotra using UAE-issued visas: Report

This undated photo shows tourist tents along the coast of Socotra islands, south of Yemen.

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly transported groups of Israeli tourists to the strategic Yemeni island of Socotra to spend their vacations there, more than eight months after the Persian Gulf country established full diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv regime in a deal brokered by former US president Donald Trump.

Yemeni sources, requesting not to be named, said hundreds of foreign tourists have entered the island over the past few days on visas granted to them by Abu Dhabi, in flagrant violation of Yemen’s sovereignty as well as international law and regulations, local media outlets reported.

The sources posted pictures of the tourists, mostly Israelis, on social media platforms.

They also called on the international community and the UN Security Council to adopt a clear position in the face of UAE’s violations, particularly as the administration of former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has so far failed to take effective measures against the occupation of Socotra island.

Home to some 60,000 people, Socotra overlooks the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It has a unique ecosystem.

Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.

Last June, UAE-backed separatists of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control of Socotra in a move described by Hadi’s administration as “a full-fledged coup.”

The French-language news outlet JForum said in a report last August that Israel, in cooperation with the UAE, was planning to build intelligence-gathering bases on the Socotra island.

The purpose of the bases, according to the report, is to electronically monitor Saudi-led forces waging a war on Yemen.

Israel and the UAE are currently making all logistical preparations to establish intelligence bases to collect information from across the Gulf of Eden, including Bab el-Mandeb and south of Yemen, which is under the control of forces backed by the UAE, the report said.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by Trump at the White House on September 15 last year.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, view the deals as a betrayal of their cause.

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