Dubai (Reuters): An Iranian cargo ship will set sail for the rebel-held Yemeni port of Hodeida on Sunday evening, Iran’s Tasnim news agency said, in a move likely to fan further tensions with Saudi-led forces blockading the country.
Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi militia earlier on Sunday accepted a five-day ceasefire proposed by Saudi Arabia after more than a month of bombing that has caused severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel.
Tasnim reported that the cargo ship would carry 2,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid including food staples and medicine.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have accused Iran of seeking to smuggle weapons and ammunition to the Houthis and have imposed a sea and air blockade on Yemen.
Coalition jets destroyed the runway of Sanaa airport last month to prevent an Iranian plane from landing. Tehran said it was carrying aid.
Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food and aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe.
Iran denies funding and arming the Houthis, but Sunni Muslim Gulf countries believe the Islamic Republic is using the Shi’ite Muslim group to gain a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.
Supported by the United States, the Saudi-led coalition began air strikes against the Houthis and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh on March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.