Yemen rebels trying to "escalate" war with oil tanker attack

Yemen rebels trying to

Yemen rebels trying to "escalate" war with oil tanker attack

Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid al-Falih dismissed a failed attack by Houthi militants from Yemen on Tuesday saying it would not affect oil supplies.

But the Houthis say they targeted a coalition warship in response to an air raid on Hudaida on Monday that killed at least a dozen civilians, including seven children.

A Saudi-led, Western-backed coalition has been at war with Iran-allied Shiite rebels known as Houthis for three years in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people and left 22.2 million people needing humanitarian aid.

The tanker was hit in the attack before "swift intervention" was launched by a nearby coalition naval vessel, Riyadh media have said. "As a result of that attack, the tanker was subjected to a slight but ineffective hit and it resumed its naval course northwards, escorted by a coalition warship", the statement said.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying missiles to the Houthis, who have taken over the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other parts of the country. Saudi authorities said they had intercepted the missiles, although debris had killed one person. Tehran and the Houthis deny the charge. Since October 2016, the USA government has provided more than $854 million to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

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Today, the US government announced almost $87 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Yemen at the Yemen High-Level Pledging Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.

In his prepared remarks, Guterres noted how Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - who have given military backing to Yemen's government, notably with air power and a sea blockade of rebel areas - had "generously provided" $930 million toward the humanitarian response plan even before the conference began.

"I am optimistic about that possibility", the United Nations chief added. More could be on the way, if an additional $500 million that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have vowed to secure from neighboring countries materializes.

Millions of Yemenis remain in need of immediate humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

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