Al Mukalla: Yemen minister of fisheries said on Monday that Saudi-led coalition ships and international anti-piracy navies along with a number of boats belonging to local fishermen have expanded the search for the missing Yemenis to Yemen waters east of the remote island of Socotra. A week ago, a Yemeni vessel carrying 60 people on board and sailing from the city of Al Mukalla on the mainland capsized off the island. Around half of the passengers were found alive on small boats that were on the cargo vessel. Fahed Kafayen, who hails from the island, told Gulf News on Monday that the search ships moved eastward after finding no sign of the missing boats in west. “We suspect that strong winds might have pushed the boats eastward. We would not call off the search operation until we found them alive or dead,” he said.

The minister said that president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered on Sunday the formation of a committee to look into the incidents and name and shame officials who allowed the vessel that lacked basic safety standards to carry dozens of civilians, including sick women and children. Socotrans say they are forced into sailing on wooden ships after flights from and to the island were suspended early last year during the beginning of the war against Al Houthis, warning that such tragic incidents could happen again on the Arabian Sea if the internationally recognised government did not resume flights from Mukalla to Socotra.

Meanwhile, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition carried out heavy air raids targeting military sites controlled by Al Houthis and their ally, the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the capital. Residents said on Monday morning that the warplanes fired missiles at Al Sabeen street, Faj Attan mountain, Rockets Brigade and other locations, causing thunderous explosions. In the province of Marib, local security services announced seizing several surveillance drones hidden inside a lorry bound for Al Houthis-controlled territories in northern Yemen. Army troops and allied tribesmen in the same province have previously captured smart military gear on similar trucks smuggled into Yemen through the sea.

Local security authorities in the southern city of Aden said on Monday that a car laden with explosive materials was defused in Moula district. Residents tipped the police on a white car parked inside a residential area in the city. Explosive experts found landmines, IEDs and TNT hidden inside the car that was apparently prepared to target military facilities or security and army forces.