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Saudi-led coalition seizes Yemen-bound fuel ship despite UN-brokered ceasefire, says oil company

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, a ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, Yemen. (By Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition of war on Yemen has impounded another oil tanker carrying thousands of tons of fuel toward the war-ravaged country in violation of a two-month ceasefire brokered by the United Nations, according to the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC).

Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the YPC, said on Thursday that the coalition prevented the ship “Harvest” from entering the strategic Yemeni port city of Hudaydah amid a crippling fuel shortage in the country.

The Yemeni official added that the ship, carrying 29,976 tons of diesel fuel at the time, was seized despite having been inspected and cleared for a port call by the United Nations.

This is not the first time that the Saudi-led coalition has seized Yemeni-bound fuel ships in spite of the truce, which went into effect a fortnight ago at the beginning of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The kingdom has maintained a blockade on Yemen, where the population is in dire need of basic supplies such as food and medicine. Riyadh imposed the blockade in 2015, the same year that it began to lead a war on its southern neighbor.

A ceasefire, announced by UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg and welcomed by the warring sides, went into force on April 2. The truce stipulates halting offensive military operations and the siege on Yemen.

However, the Yemeni side reported violations of the truce by the Saudis soon after it began.

On April 6, the YPC announced that the Saudi-led coalition had seized a diesel-loaded tanker, called Daytona, and directed it to a southwestern Saudi region.

Al-Qaeda terrorists escape from Saudi-run prison

Meanwhile, a group of members of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist group have managed to escape overnight from a detention facility run by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s eastern province of Hadhramaut.

Local news outlets reported that the prisoners escaped from the Seiyun Central Prison, located about 360 kilometers (220 miles) from the port city of Mukalla. Security forces have launched an operation to arrest them, they added.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western states.

The objective was to bring back to power 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 an effective government in Yemen.

The war has stopped well short of all of its goals, despite killing hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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