Houthi militia target Saudi Arabian oil tanker in Red Sea, causing “minor damage”

Houthi militant walks at Red Sea port of Al-Hudaydah in Yemen. (Reuters)
Updated 04 April 2018

Houthi militia target Saudi Arabian oil tanker in Red Sea, causing “minor damage”

  • Houthi and Iran attack Saudi Arabian tanker near Port of Hudaydah
  • Saudi-led Arab Coalition's navy repelled the attack on tanker in Red Sea

JEDDAH: A Saudi oil tanker was attacked by Houthi militia off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, raising concern over the threat to shipping in one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.
The afternoon attack took place in international waters west of Hodeidah port, which is controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis, Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said.
A coalition warship conducted a “swift intervention” foiling the attack, a statement said. The tanker suffered minor damage and continued its course under escort.
“The attack is a serious threat to the freedom of maritime navigation and international trade in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait,” Al-Malki said
Houthi control of sections of the Red Sea coast has been a concern for international shipping since the militants seized the capital Sanaa and territory across the country’s north. 
An EU naval force that operates in the region confirmed the ship was underway, adding that the crew were safe and unharmed, Reuters reported. 
The Houthis have carried out several attacks on coalition ships, including in Jan. 2017 when two crew members of a Saudi frigate were killed. The militants have also targeted US warships. 
The attack came after Saudi air defenses last week intercepted a flurry of ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis, which drew international condemnation. 
Saudi Arabia, Arab countries and the US say the missiles and other weaponry come from Iran and are smuggled into Yemen.
The Saudi coalition is supporting the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against the Houthis.
In Geneva on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the sides in Yemen to reach a political settlement. 
Speaking at a fund-raising conference for Yemen, Guterres said his Special Envoy Martin Griffiths will head to the UAE, Oman and the Yemeni government-held city of Aden in the drive for peace, Reuters reported.
Guterres said he saw “positive perspectives” for preparing a plan of action “to lead to an effective inter-Yemeni dialogue able to achieve a political solution, with of course the involvement of all those that are relevant in this conflict”.
He announced that more than $2 billion has been pledged toward a UN humanitarian appeal of $3 billion for Yemen this year. It includes $930 million from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek Al-Mekhlafi called for a return to the negotiating table to end the war.
On Monday, King Salman stressed in a phone call with Donald Trump the Kingdom’s efforts to find a political solution to the Yemen crisis and provide humanitarian relief and support to its people, Saudi Press Agency reported.
They also discussed Iran’s attempts to destabilize the region.

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


• King Salman leads Saudi official condemnations of Florida attack

He doesn’t represent us’: Saudis tweet in solidarity with Americans over Florida Navy base shooting

 Florida shooting ‘nothing to do with gunman’s family, tribe’

“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.