- Abbas Almutwkel via YouTube
Saudi Arabia confirmed a Houthi militant attack that killed two Saudi sailors on Monday.
“A Saudi frigate on patrol west of the port city of Hodeida was hit by a terrorist attack from three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias,” Saudi state media said, according to Reuters.
However, the Saudis and Iranian media disagree on whether a missile or bomb-laden boat carried out the attack.
Footage claiming to show the attack surfaced on Monday.
Iranian state media claimed the attack was carried out by Houthi militants in Yemen with a guided missile against a Saudi navy vessel.
The media cites a source as saying the vessel had 176 sailors and officers, as well as a combat helicopter, on board at the time of the attack.
The US Navy told Business Insider that it was aware of reports of the Saudi ship being hit but could not yet confirm or deny the event.
Yemen’s Houthi militants have received support from Iran. In October, the same Houthi militants successfully struck a United Arab Emirates vessel with an anti-ship cruise missile in the waters off Yemen’s western coast, where Iranian media claims this strike took place.
Later in October, when US ships entered the waters off Yemen’s coast, Houthi militants shot missiles at US ships, which the US intercepted before firing a salvo that destroyed the radar sites that had been used to launch the attacks. Without such radar sites, the Houthis couldn’t properly fire a guided anti-ship missile.
- US Navy
“It doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to presume that it was an anti-ship missile since the sites the US hit back in 2016 weren’t the only ones that the Houthis had access to, courtesy of defected forces from Saleh,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, referring to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen and a prominent Houthi figure.
“However, this assessment is complicated by the recent Saudi report claiming that damage was done by suicide boats as well as the shoddy footage.”
Indeed many who viewed the footage have pointed to what they say could be editing.
Stills from before & after ‘explosion’ seem to show the frigate flip direction, could be a result of images used to edit video pic.twitter.com/YzAblFQ0QF
— Ian Keddie (@IanJKeddie) January 30, 2017
Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of Arab Gulf states that currently back the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Houthi uprising.
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