Source: Reuters, 27/06/2010
Yemen is building a coastguard base on an island in the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait to protect traffic in the crucial shipping lane that links Europe and Asia, the Yemeni coastguard said on Sunday.
Yemen, at the forefront of Western security concerns since a failed al Qaeda attack on a U.S.-bound plane in December, boosted security at coastal facilities earlier this year to guard against possible militant attacks.
In February, the Yemen-based wing of al Qaeda called for a blockade of the strait, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, to cut off U.S. shipments to Israel.
Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean also have stepped up attacks in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships, including tankers and dry bulkers.
The base will be located on the island of Miyoun -- previously known as Perim -- and construction began at the start of the year, a coastguard source told Reuters