A delegation of Israeli military experts has apparently been stationed to the Yemeni island of Socotra, more than six months after it was reported that the United Arab Emirates was constructing a settlement on the strategic island to accommodate dozens of Israeli soldiers, officers and military experts.
The Arabic-language Yemen Press Agency, citing informed sources speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that an Israeli military delegation along with a number of UAE intelligence officers have been present on Socotra Island since a few days ago.
The sources added that the Israeli delegates, who are believed to be technical experts affiliated with the regime’s Navy, have many devices and equipment and have been searching and digging in different parts of the 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.
The French-language news outlet JForum said in August 2020 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 Aden, including Bab el-Mandeb and south of Yemen, which is under the control of forces backed by the UAE, the report said.
Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.
The UAE-backed separatists of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control of Socotra in June 2020, in a move described by the administration of fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, as “a full-fledged coup.”
Saudi-led coalition seizes four Yemen-bound fuel tankers in violation of UN-brokered ceasefire
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Petroleum Company (YPC) says the Saudi-led coalition has seized four more Yemen-bound fuel ships in blatant violation of a UN-brokered ceasefire.
Essam al-Mutawakil, a spokesman for the company, said on Thursday that the military alliance barred the vessels, laden with thousands of tons of diesel fuel and gasoline, from docking at Yemen’s western port of Hudaydah despite the fact that they had obtained necessary entry permits from the United Nations.
Mutawakil argued that the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg has so far failed to take an effective measure in the face of such violations, stressing that no fuel tanker has been allowed to enter Hudaydah port ever since the truce was renewed for an additional two months through October 2.
Last month, Grundberg said the extended UN-sponsored truce, running from August 2 to October 2, included a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible.
Under the terms of the truce, commercial flights have resumed from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a to Jordan and Egypt, while oil tankers have been able to dock in the lifeline port city of al-Hudaydah.
Moreover, in line with the agreement, the coalition agreed to end its attacks on Yemeni soil and end a simultaneous siege that it has been enforcing against Yemen.
Yemen has, however, reported many violations of the truce by the Saudi-led forces.
Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.
The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.
While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.