RIYADH: Troops belonging to a Saudi-led Coalition have intercepted a shipment of money, forged passports and travel documents bound for Houthi militias fighting against Yemen’s legitimate government, a spokesperson of the Saudi-led Arab coalition said on Monday.
“As much as 5,750,000,000 Yemeni Riyals equivalent to more than $22 million as well as 5,297 counterfeited passports were confiscated as they were being sent to the Houthi militias in Saada,” Col. Turki Al-Maliki said in a press conference in Riyadh.
He said the Houthi militias have been systematically attempting to smuggle money and forged passports into Yemen for use by Houthi leaders and their families to travel outside Yemen.
The smuggled money was meant to flood the local market with valueless currency, pay the salaries of new recruits, including children, and create a black market in furtherance of the Houthis’ agenda.
“We are working with the legitimate government to destroy such evil designs,” he said.
Al-Maliki said that the Yemeni army has been advancing on many fronts in the Iran-backed Houthi militia stronghold of Saada.
He also announced that humanitarian shipment permits were being granted regularly, and that humanitarian aid has been flowing continuously into all parts of Yemen.
He clarified that reports about aid workers such as the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, being banned from entering conflict areas were not accurate. In fact the MSF has issued a clarification and apologized, he said.
Assistance provided by King Salman Center for Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Aid (KSRelief) as part of the comprehensive humanitarian operations in Yemen have until Monday benefited 4,791,792 Yemeni citizens, he said.
Al-Maliki said residents have welcomed the advancing government forces through such gestures like removing sectarian graffiti from walls of liberated towns and cities in Saada as well as the port of Hodeidah.
The Red Sea port is significant as a lifeline for millions of people, handling most of the country’s commercial imports and humanitarian aid supplies through ships.
During the press conference, Al-Maliki made a video presentation showing people cleaning up their walls from pro-Houthi graffiti.
Al-Turki said the Houthi violations are still going on in the province of Saada, the platform of ballistic missiles and the destination of smuggled missiles from outside Yemen.
“We will go through strategic targets destroying ballistic capacity in Saada as well as targeting tanks, hideouts, projectile launch pad and hostile gathering of the militias,” he said.
In the past week, the Houthis have fired four ballistic missiles heading toward Saudi Arabia, with one falling inside the Yemeni territories. Since the Coalition launched its support for the Yemeni government in March 2015, Houthis have fired 149 ballistic issiles and 66,315 projectiles toward Saudi Arabia.