Iranian aid ship leaves sets sail for Yemen
An Iranian ship carrying humanitarian supplies has left the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas for war-torn Yemen as Saudi Arabia continues to pound the neighboring Arab state with deadly air raids.
The Nejat (Rescue) cargo ship, containing 2,500 tons of much-needed aid, including food, medical supplies and tents, set sail for Yemen on Monday.
The aid consignment was donated by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS).
The ship will sail through the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. After its arrival in the Bab el-Mandeb strait, the vessel will enter the Red Sea and is set to unload its cargo in southern Yemeni city of Aden or al-Hudaydah port.
Iranian officials have said the ship would reach Yemen within the next 10 to 12 days.
They added that Iran has made the necessary coordination with the Yemeni Red Crescent Society as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and held consultations with the Red Crescent Society of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Djibouti to dispatch the cargo ship.
Saudi Arabia has already blocked Iranian aid deliveries to Yemen.
Riyadh on April 28 forced an Iranian cargo plane carrying medical aid and food for crisis-hit people in Yemen to return.
The Iranian aircraft, which had earlier received permits from Omani and Yemeni aviation officials to cross into Yemen’s airspace, could not land at the international airport in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, as Saudi warplanes were violently striking the runway of the civil airport.
The development came less than a week after Saudi fighter jets intercepted an Iranian airplane, carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, and prevented it from entering the Yemeni airspace on April 22.
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls the capital, Sana’a, and other major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
The Saudi military campaign has reportedly claimed the lives of over 1,200 people so far and injured thousands of others. Hundreds of women and children are among the victims, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Sunday expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen, especially in the northwestern province of Sa’ada, saying the onslaught is “taking a dreadful toll” on the Yemeni civilians.