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Raw: Saudi Air Strike Hits Yemeni Wedding Party
The statement said papers on the boat showed it was registered in Iran.
The dhow’s crew alleged that the vessel was bound for Somalia, which sits just across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Although most of Yemen’s modest oil and gas reserves – an important source of revenue for the impoverished state – are in the south, it is the north that has prospered and many southerners blame Sanaa for widespread poverty and joblessness.
Most of the weapons were dumped into the sea, though a few were retained for further analysis by sailors aboard the American warship. The Saudi government said the attack was an accident and that it meant to target rebels, yet a representative of humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders revealed there was no military presence near the wedding.
And Islah supporters, a coalition of Islamists led by Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood, also have been instrumental in the fight against Houthis in their base in Taiz.
“There’s no single country that does everything”, he said. Saudi Arabia and its regional allies aim at ousting the rebels, who they say are aided by Iran, and restoring the Saudi-allied Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Politically Iran supports the Houthis, but denies supplying them with weapons.
Saturday’s incident is the latest seizure of boats allegedly carrying Iranian arms bound for Yemen.
“There have been no air operations by the coalition in that area for three days”. American warships separately take part in the routine Combined Maritime Forces patrols.
Residents and local officials also said they appeared to be mobilizing their forces for a southern push in the nearby area of Kirsh, about 75 km (46 miles) from Aden.
A senior official in the Yemeni government told AP that attack was conducted by a Saudi-led coalition which struck the wedding by “mistake”.
“Casualties will mount as the ground presence increases”, said Jesse Ferris, author of “Nasser’s Gamble”, a study of the failed Egyptian intervention in Yemen’s civil war in the 1960s.
Between October 2010 and October 2014, the Obama administration made more than billion in weapons deals with Saudi Arabia, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
Fourteen crew members aboard the ship have been arrested, including the captain, identified as Bakhsh Jakal.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition that has air supremacy over Yemen has strongly denied any role in the wedding party carnage, and a coalition spokesman suggested that local militias may have fired the projectiles.
The coalition rejected the accusations saying that it did not carry out any airstrikes in the region.