Saudi jets hit cargo ships off Yemen as ceasefire ends
Yemeni media is reporting that Saudi Arabian warplanes have launched airstrikes on ships belonging to UNICEF, but the United Nations Children’s Fund has not made any comment on the alleged incident.
According to Yemeni TV channel al-Masirah, the Saudi fighter jets launched three "aerial attacks" on the ships, purportedly carrying humanitarian aid, which were bound for the north-western Yemeni province of Sa’ada.
UNICEF has not commented on the incident, but did say in a press release earlier Wednesday that it had been able to get much-needed aid into the war-torn country during a 12-day ceasefire.
“During the pause, UNICEF was able to deliver assistance to affected people across the country, however humanitarian assistance cannot replace the needs of 26 million people who have been cut off from a regular supply of commercial imports of food and fuel,” said Julien Harneis, the UNICEF representative for Yemen.
The ceasefire came into force on 12 May and ended Wednesday night.
Riyadh, supported by the United States and other western nations, has been carrying out airstrikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are fighting the central government. It has also carried out airstrikes on ships and planes believed to be carrying weapons from Iran to the rebels.
Iran insists that it is delivering humanitarian aid and has a cargo ship escorted by Iranian warships heading toward the Saudi-patrolled waters off Yemen in an apparent attempt at a dramatic showdown.
According to Yemen's Freedom House Foundation, some 3,979 Yemeni people have been killed while more than 6,887 others have been wounded since fighting began in late March with the ousting of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.