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Houthi rebels free dozens of Egyptian fishermen detained in Yemen

Houthi rebels free dozens of Egyptian fishermen detained in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have released dozens of Egyptian fishermen after detaining them for weeks on charges of trespassing into territorial waters. The 32 fishermen were ferried on a chartered flight home to Cairo from Yemen’s rebel-held capital on Tuesday, according to the Houthi-run news agency.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi hailed their return on Twitter, saying that “intensive efforts” by the government “saved [the fishermen’s] lives and yielded their safe transfer.”

Immigration Minister Nabila Makram said the government had been trying to negotiate the release with Yemeni and Saudi authorities since mid-December.

The Houthi coast guard plucked the fishermen from the Red Sea, accusing them of violating the sea border off the southern coast, AP said. Every year, the Houthis detain dozens of fishing boats and other vessels that pass through their waters. The rebels target oil tankers and military ships belonging to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which has been fighting in Yemen’s civil war since 2015.