Last updated: 7 May, 2015

Iran to send aid ship to Yemen: state media

Iran’s Red Crescent will send a ship carrying 2,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Yemen, official media said Thursday, following weeks of deadly fighting between Tehran-backed rebels and loyalist forces.

Officials at the Iranian Red Crescent have informed their Saudi counterparts by fax of the planned shipment, the IRNA news agency said quoting the organisation’s secretary general Ali Asghar Ahmadi.

A Saudi-led military coalition seeking to restore the authority of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi through a six-week-old bombing campaign has imposed an air and naval blockade on Yemen.

Iran, the Shiite rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, is a key ally of the Shiite Huthi rebels who have seized large parts of Yemen including the capital, but denies arming them.

The Iranian vessel is expected to leave on Saturday and take about 10 days to reach Yemen, Ahmadi said.

Members of the Iranian Red Crescent will also be sent “to help the Yemeni people,” he added.

The Saudi-led coalition bombed the runway at the airport in the rebel-held capital Sanaa on April 28, saying an Iranian plane had “defied” a blockade on Yemeni airspace.

Days earlier Iran summoned the Saudi envoy to protest after his country’s warplanes allegedly turned back Iranian Red Crescent aid flights headed for Yemen.