ADEN: Saudi Arabia’s military in Yemen has moved in to secure two strategic Red Sea ports and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, four sources familiar with the matter said.
Two Yemeni military commanders and two Yemeni government officials told Reuters that Saudi officers had taken command of military bases at the ports of al-Mokha and al-Khokha.
Riyadh has also sent an unspecified number of troops to the southern port city of Aden and Perim Island, a small volcanic rock in the strategic Bab al-Mandeb shipping lane where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden.
The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition did not respond to requests for comment.
Riyadh has remained supportive of U.N. peace efforts despite an uptick in Houthi missile and drone strikes on airports in southern Saudi Arabia over the last two months.
But by expanding the Saudi presence on the ground, the move could intensify international criticism of the kingdom’s role in a war that has unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and killed hundreds of civilians in errant air strikes on hospitals, schools and markets.
Perim Island, in the middle of Bab al-Mandeb.
Tens of thousands of Yemeni and Sudanese troops are positioned in the area and on the southern outskirts of Hodeidah, where warring parties agreed on a ceasefire to pave the way for talks to end the war.