Saudi Arabia and Egypt have reportedly deployed warships to the strategic strait of Bab el-Mandab off Yemen’s coast in an apparent preparation for a ground intervention in the Arabian Peninsula.
A number of Egyptian and Saudi vessels have been sent to the strait, which is the only access to Egypt’s Suez Canal from the Arabian Sea, according to several unnamed Egyptian military officials cited in a report by The Associated Press on Friday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the warships from the two countries were already at or near Bab el-Mandab. One official also said two destroyers and two other vessels had arrived at the strait.
This is while Riyad Yassin, who served as Yemen’s foreign minister in the cabinet of fugitive president, Abd Ruabbuh Mansur Hadi, told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel that Egyptian naval forces are on their way to Bab el-Mandab.
According to Yassin, there was an “arrangement” for ground troops to be deployed to Yemen, which has witnessed deadly Saudi-led air raids against the Houthi Ansarullah movement since March 26.
Meanwhile, retired Yemeni army officer Nasser al-Marqashi stated that the airstrikes would continue for a week before a ground attack, which would likely be launched from Yemen’s seaport city of Aden or the country’s Hadramout Province, another pro-Hadi stronghold.
The Al Saud regime’s aerial campaign is aimed at restoring Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh and the West, to power. This is while the Houthis say he lost his legitimacy as president of Yemen after escaping the capital, Sana’a, to Aden on February 21.