Iran crew member evacuated off Yemen: Arab coalition

The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen said it evacuated a crew member of an Iranian ship off the Red Sea port of al-Hodeidah on Tuesday (June 4th) for medical reasons, amid simmering regional tensions, AFP reported.

Arab coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said the crew member was airlifted for treatment to a military hospital in the southern Saudi city of Jizan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Al-Malki said the rescue happened after the kingdom received a distress call from the "suspicious" Iranian vessel "Saviz", adding that it also received a formal request for assistance from Iran's mission to the UN.

There was no immediate comment from Tehran, which Riyadh accuses of providing military support to the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) in Yemen.

Al-Malki last week alleged "Saviz" was supplying the Houthis with naval mines, a growing menace in Yemen's four-year conflict.

Last month, an Iranian tanker was forced to seek repairs at a Saudi port after suffering "engine failure and loss of control", the Iranian oil ministry said.

Saviz, which is registered as a cargo ship, has been anchored in the Red Sea for a couple of years and is believed to be providing significant military and logistical aid to the Houthis.

Yemeni fishermen have been protesting the presence of the Iranian vessel off the coast of Yemen, saying it has caused the death of more than 100 of their comrades in naval mine explosions.

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