Ships are docked next to giant cranes, damaged by Saudi-led air strikes, at a container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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Cruise missiles, floating mines and a remote-controlled boat have been deployed to attack ships in Yemen in recent months, changing the dynamic of the 2-year-old war and pushing the country closer to famine, shipping and aid officials say.The conflict in Yemen, which Al-Qaeda has exploited to thrive amid turbulent conditions, has left four-fifths of the population in need of aid. A Saudi frigate was attacked on Jan. 30 close to the Red Sea port of Hudaida in which two crew members were killed and three wounded, Saudi official media reported, blaming Houthis for the attack.The U.S. Navy said an unmanned remote controlled boat laden with explosives rammed the Saudi navy vessel, the first known strike by a "drone" attack boat, adding it was likely the Houthis were responsible, using technology supplied by Iran.Al-Qaeda may also have carried out its first attack off Yemen's shores in more than a decade, security specialists say.Gerry Northwood, of maritime security firm MAST and a former British Royal Navy captain with experience commanding warships in the region, said he suspected the attack showed Al-Qaeda's ability to carry out seaborne strikes on tankers.More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which the United Nations has said is now the largest food insecurity emergency in the world, with an estimated 7.3 million people needing immediate help.
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