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Yemen's Houthi rebels release dozens of Egyptian Fisherman detained over 'trespassing' territorial waters Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Yemen's Houthi rebels release dozens of Egyptian Fisherman detained over 'trespassing' territorial waters

Houthi rebels target military ships belonging to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2020

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The 32 fishermen were ferried on a chartered flight home to Cairo from Yemen's rebel-held capital, according to the Houthi-run news agency.
Dozens of Egyptian fishermen were released by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Tuesday, after being held for weeks by the Iran-back group on charges of trespassing into territorial waters.

The 32 fishermen were ferried on a chartered flight home to Cairo from Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa, according to Houthi-run SABA news agency.

Their return was hailed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who took to Twitter to applaud the "intensive efforts" to secure their release after almost two months of detention.

"These efforts resulted saving [the men's] lives and ensured their safe return to Egyptian lands," Sisi said, adding "Long live Egypt."

Egypt had been trying to negotiate the fishermen's release with Yemeni and Saudi authorities since mid-December, according to Immigration Minister Nabila Makram

Houthi coast guards picked the fishermen up from a boat in the Red Sea, accusing them of violating the sea border off the southern coast.

Every year, the Houthis detain dozens of fishing boats and other vessels that pass through their waters.

The rebels have also targeted oil tankers and military ships belonging to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, which have been fighting in Yemen's civil war since 2015.

As a regional foe of Iran, Egypt supports the Saudi-led coalition's efforts to oust the Houthis and restore the internationally-recognised government in Yemen.

But Egypt limits its military involvement to maritime patrols and reconnaissance missions.

Yemen lies along the southern end of the Red Sea, one of the world's most commercially critical waterways, congested with oil tankers crossing from the Middle East to Europe.

The waters have become increasingly perilous since 2014.
That's when Houthis seized the Yemeni capital and much of the country's north, setting off a civil war that has become the world's worst humanitarian crisis.


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