The Saudi-led military coalition said it intercepted an unmanned boat rigged with explosives that was launched from Yemen by Iran-linked Huthi rebels, the kingdom”s state media reported.
The attack comes amid soaring regional tensions with Iran following twin attacks on key Saudi oil facilities, which knocked out half the kingdom”s production and sent energy markets into a tailspin.
“The coalition”s naval arm detected an attempt by the Iran-linked Huthi terrorist militia to carry out an imminent hostile and terrorist act in the south of Red Sea by using a remote-controlled booby-trapped boat,” the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“The Huthi terrorist militia launched this boat from the (northern) Hodeida governorate.” The coalition said the boat was intercepted on Thursday and destroyed but it did not specify the target.
There was no immediate reaction from the rebels.
The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.
The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people — most of them civilians — and driven millions more to the brink of famine in what the United Nations calls the world”s worst humanitarian crisis.
But the coalition, assisted by Western powers including the US, has struggled to oust the ragtag but highly motivated tribal militia group that has stepped up attacks on Saudi cities.
The Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for last weekend”s twin attacks on oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia.
But both Washington and Riyadh have ruled that out and pinned the blame on Saudi Arabia”s arch rival Iran.