‘Yemen’s Navy, loyal to the Houthi government, captured a French naval vessel, the M/Y Jehol ll, off of the coast of Hodeidah on Saturday, according to statements made by senior military officials to MintPress News. The vessel, which was carrying foreign fighters, was engaged in a military landing operation near the port, according to Houthi officials, who gave no further details.
Mohammed al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi movement, tweeted: “Thanks to the Yemeni Coast Guard in Hodeida, a French or American boat was seized.” He confirmed in a later tweet that a French naval vessel named the M/Y Jehol ll was captured by Yemen’s Coast Guard near Hodeidah.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam accused France and Britain of being involved in the recent attack on Hodeidah. Abdulsalam told a local television station on Saturday that “British and French warships are on standby on Yemen’s western coast to launch missile and aerial attacks.”
The French newspaper Le Figaro confirmed that France’s Special Forces are present on the ground in Yemen supporting the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign on Hodeidah. A French military source later confirmed to Reuters that French special forces are operating in Yemen.
On Friday, the French defense ministry said France was studying the possibility of carrying out a mine-sweeping operation to provide access to Hodeidah once Saudi Arabia and the UAE wrap up their military operations
A Houthi military source said in a statement to MintPress that Yemeni forces would target French, or any other foreign military vessel participating in the attack on Hodeidah, adding that “Yemen’s forces can handle any challenge posed by invading forces.”
Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is visiting Sana’a to attempt to negotiate a Houthi transfer of the port of Hodeidah to the Saudi-UAE Coalition, a high-ranking government official told MintPress.’