Yemen’s Houthi rebel group reportedly attacked and partially damaged a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea on 3 April.
The missile launched from the Houthi-controlled Yemeni Red Sea port of Hodeidah hit the tanker at 1.30pm, putting a hole in the side of the vessel, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The SPA quoted an official of the Saudi-led military coalition waging a three-year war in Yemen, who said the coalition’s naval forces thwarted the attempt by the Iran-backed Houthi to destroy the tanker in waters west of Hodeidah port.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih sought to calm apprehension about oil supplies from the kingdom after the strike, tweeting: "The Houthi terrorist attack on the Saudi oil tanker is only a desperate attempt to influence the security of international navigation. It has been a failure and will not affect economic activity or [cause] disruption of oil supply."
The vessel was safely escorted northwards by coalition naval forces following the offensive, said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Malki.
“The coalition will continue taking the necessary measures and means to keep the security and stability of the region, and the continuation of the freedom of regional and international navigation in the Red Sea and Bab-Al-Mandab strait, as part of its commitment to make Yemen a safe and secure place,” the official was quoted as saying by the SPA.
Al-Malki has called for Hodeida port to be put under international surveillance and control to prevent Houthi terrorists using it as a base to launch attacks against navigation routes.
The Houthi group has in recent times resorted to missile attacks on Saudi territory and assets.
On 22 March the militias fired a ballistic missile targeting Saudi Aramco’s oil loading facility in the kingdom’s southern province of Najran, close to the border with Yemen.
Three days later Saudi forces intercepted seven missiles fired into the kingdom, three of them toward capital Riyadh.
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