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13 out of 20 Indians reported killed in Yemen air strikes alive: MEA

New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said that 13 out of the 20 Indian nationals who were reported to have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes on fuel smugglers at a Yemeni port are
India TV News Desk September 09, 2015 17:27 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said that 13 out of the 20 Indian nationals who were reported to have been killed in Saudi-led airstrikes on fuel smugglers at a Yemeni port are alive.

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup added that 7 of them are missing.

"We have seen media reports about the death of Indian nationals in Yemen. Indian Embassy officials in Djbouti are in touch with local contacts and we have ascertained that there were two boats one of which was plying between Berbera (Somalia) and Mokha (Yemen). The boats came under aerial bombardment in the afternoon of 8 September. The boats were carrying a total of 20 Indian crew members of which 13 are alive and 7 are reported missing," he said.

Swarup further said that no other information is currently available regarding the identities of the Indian nationals.

There were reports that at least 20 Indians were killed in airstrikes Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces on fuel smugglers at Yemen's Hodeidah port on Tuesday.

Media reports quoted locals claiming that two boats were hit in the attack on an area called al-Khokha near Hodeidah port.

India does not have Embassy in Yemen, which was shut down in April after evacuation of its nationals.

On Tuesday, 12 Shiite rebels were also killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the province of Marib the area where a rebel missile strike days earlier killed 45 Emirati soldiers and 10 Saudi troops, independent Yemeni security officials and witnesses said Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of mainly Gulf nations fighting the Houthis. The coalition suffered its worst day of losses Friday in the missile strike in Marib.

On Friday, Bahrain's state news agency also reported five of its soldiers were killed protecting Saudi's southern border, without elaborating. Yemen is the only hostile country on Saudi's southern border.

Yemen is torn between the Houthis, allied with army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and military forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The Houthis took Sanaa in September, later expanding across Yemen.

The conflict has killed over 2,100 civilians, according to the United Nations.