20 Egyptian fishermen detained in Yemen for 'trespassing waters' released: official

20 Egyptian fishermen detained in Yemen for 'trespassing waters' released: official
20 Egyptian fishermen who were reportedly caught trespassing and illegally fishing in Yemen's territorial waters have been released, local media reported.
2 min read
03 May, 2022
Houthi rebels often target fishing vessels and oil tankers in Yemen waters [Getty]

Egyptian authorities on Monday announced that 20 fishermen were released following their captivity in Yemen, according to a report by the Egyptian Middle East News Agency.

The agency reported that "sovereign authorities" ensured the fishermen’s release and that their return is currently underway, although it did not specify when they were released, as well as the reason and length of their detention.

However, the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Yaoum reported that the fishermen were detained by Houthi rebels on charges of illegally fishing in territorial waters over a month and a half ago.

The fishermen were reportedly unharmed and have received necessary health check-ups.

An Egyptian MP, Diaa El-Din Dawood, confirmed his involvement in securing the fishermen’s release on his official Facebook page on Monday, in addition to the Egyptian foreign ministry and other governmental bodies.

He said: "Following the request to quickly end this crisis to release the fishermen and the continuous communication with the ministry of foreign affairs and sovereign bodies, [it is] with God's help, it has been confirmed that they will return within the next few days".

In a similar incident earlier this year, a boat carrying more than 100 Egyptian fishermen was detained by the Eritrean navy for allegedly violating territorial waters, according to the daily outlet Egypt Today.

In February 2020, 32 Egyptian fishermen were released following weeks of being held by the Iran-backed movement for similar reasons.

In Yemen, where the latest incident occurred, Houthi rebels regularly seize dozens of fishing boats, oil tankers belonging to Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies, among other vessels, and has detained crew members from varying nationalities.

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Yemeni waters have increasingly become dangerous since the Saudi-led coalition began launching air strikes against Houthi positions almost seven years ago, after the rebel movement took control of large envelopes of the territory, including the capital Sanaa.

However, Saudi ally Egypt restricts its military participation in Yemen to maritime patrols and reconnaissance missions.