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Navy Ship Evacuates 350 Indians Stranded In Yemen
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Around 350 stranded Indians were evacuated today from strife-torn Yemen's Aden city on an Indian Navy ship that will now take them to Djibouti, a country neighbouring Yemen and across the Red Sea.
The evacuation operation took place in dark night conditions amid the escalating violence in Yemen.
"INS Sumitra has left the Aden harbour and around 350 Indians embarked on the ship," an official said.
Evacuation took place after India tonight got permission to dock its ship at the Aden harbour as the government launched a massive air and sea evacuation operation for its over 4,000 nationals in Yemen.
Two warships have been pressed into service besides two passenger ships while the Indian Air Force has put on stand-by two C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
Air India has stationed two 180-seater Airbus A320 planes in Muscat for evacuation of Indians from Yemen's capital Sanaa to Djibouti whenever a clearance is given by the concerned authorities.
Defence sources said four ships, including destroyer INS Mumbai and stealth frigate INS Tarkash - will reach Yemen by Saturday. Two merchant vessels - Kavaratti and Coral - have also been dispatched.
The four ships are to join each other in Arabian Sea on April 2 and proceed as a composite group to Djibouti.
The two 180-seater aircraft dispatched by Air India remained stuck in the Oman capital Muscat.
Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh headed for Djibouti to oversee the evacuation exercise christened 'Operation Raahat'.
Saudi-led coalition warplanes pounded Yemen's Shiite rebels for a sixth day on Tuesday, destroying missiles and weapons depots and for the first time using warships to bomb the rebel-held airport and eastern outskirts of the port city of Aden.
Ordinary Lives Disrupted
Residents of Sanaa sought shelter and got little sleep during the night, while some took to the rooftops in anger or frustration, firing automatic rifles skywards toward the roar of warplanes.
Schools, universities and government offices were all closed, along with most shops. Few cars ventured onto the mostly deserted streets.
"We haven't slept, one child screams and a second cries," said Mustafa Al Ahmadi. He said the family seeks shelter in their basement when close explosions rock the house.
Officials from all sides said strikes hit the city's so-called "security belt" of army camps surrounding the capital, some of which stored ballistic missiles.
Those camps are held by Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, or their allies, military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The campaign by the Saudi-led coalition aims to weaken the Iranian-allied Houthis, who have overrun much of the country with the help of Saleh's loyalists and forced Yemen's current president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to flee abroad.