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Yemen's Houthi rebels seize one Saudi, two S. Korean vessels

Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized a Saudi-flagged tug and two South Korean vessels at the weekend, the insurgents and officials in Seoul said on Tuesday. The incident follows a lull in Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia as one Riyadh official said the kingdom had established an “open channel” with the rebels in a bid to end the four-year conflict, AFP reported.

The Houthis acknowledged they had seized three ships, including a Saudi one, in the Red Sea a few miles off Uqban island, west of the rebel-held capital Sanaa. The three ships were seized after they entered “territorial waters without prior notice,” the rebels said.


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According to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, a South Korean dredger was being towed by one Korean and one Saudi-flagged tug when they were seized by the Houthis. It added that a total of 16 crew, two of them South Korean, had been taken to the Red Sea port of Saleef, where they were being held by the rebels. “All of our citizens… are healthy and safe,” officials said.

The Saudi-led military coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government accused the rebels of “hijacking” the Rabigh-3, which a global tracking website described as a Saudi-flagged vessel.