New Delhi(AFP): Amidst reports that 20 Indian nationals were killed in air strikes by Saudi-led coalition forces on fuel smugglers at Yemen’s Hodeidah port, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said that 13 of them were alive while seven members remained missing near Mokha in Yemen after their boat came under air strike.
MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop said, “We have seen media reports about death of Indian nationals in Yemen and Indian embassy in Djibouti is in touch with local contacts.”
He further added, “We have ascertained that two boats came under aerial bombardment, boats were carrying a total of 20 Indian crew members, out of which 13 are alive and seven are reported to be missing.”
Stating that no other information is currently available regarding the identity of the Indian nationals, Swaroop said, “Ministry has sought a detailed report from local police authorities and further action will be taken based on report.”
Some media reports, quoting residents and fishermen, earlier claimed that at least 20 Indian nationals were killed in air strikes by Saudi-led coalition forces on fuel smugglers at Yemen’s Hodeidah port. They claimed two boats were hit in the attack on an area called al-Khokha near Hodeidah port.
India does not have an embassy in Yemen anymore. It was shut down in April after the evacuation of its nationals.
The Houthi-run state news agency Saba also said that 15 citizens were killed in air strikes on Sanaa, and medical sources said at least 15 civilians were killed in similar attacks on Monday. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the figures.
Friday’s attack was the deadliest yet for Gulf soldiers in the war and may herald a turning point as Saudi-allied countries appear to be committing to a ground war they had so far avoided.