Yemen rebels 'will not stop' Red Sea attacks: Houthi official

AFP , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Yemen's Houthi rebels said Tuesday they would not halt attacks on Red Sea shipping despite the announcement by the United States of a new maritime protection force.

security forces
Yemen s Houthi-affiliated security forces stand guard during a march in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. AFP


"Even if America succeeds in mobilising the entire world, our military operations will not stop... no matter the sacrifices it costs us," senior Houthi official Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said on X, formerly Twitter.

Bukhaiti said the rebels would only halt their attacks if Israel's "crimes in Gaza stop and food, medicines and fuel are allowed to reach its besieged population".

He spoke after Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced a 10-nation coalition on Monday to quell Houthi missile and drone attacks on shipping passing through the Red Sea, with Britain, France and Italy among countries joining the "multinational security initiative".

Austin said the force would operate "with the goal of ensuring freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity."

Yemen's Houthi have launched a flurry of drone and missile attacks on vessels passing through the Red Sea, aimed at pressuring Israel over its devastating war on the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, they claimed attacks on two vessels in the Red Sea, including the Norwegian-owned Swan Atlantic.

The US military's Central Command said the Swan Atlantic "was attacked by a one-way attack drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen".

It said the guided missile destroyer USS Carney "responded to assess damage".

At approximately the same time, "the bulk cargo ship MV Clara reported an explosion in the water near their location," CENTCOM said.

No casualties were reported in either attack, it added.

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