Yemen Houthis threaten to widen ship attacks to Mediterranean

AFP , Friday 3 May 2024

Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday threatened to extend their attacks on Israel-bound shipping to the Mediterranean in response to Israeli preparations to invade the Gaza border city of Rafah.

File photo: Yemeni demonstrators carry a mock missile during a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rally in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa. AFP


The Houthis said the escalation would take effect "immediately." 

It involves "the targeting of all ships that violate the ban (on) Israeli navigation and that head to the ports of occupied Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea in any reachable area within our ample zone", military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement.

The Houthis, who control large swathes of Yemen including much of its Red Sea coast, have launched scores of drone and missile attacks on Israel-linked shipping since November, in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, 

Their campaign has prompted US and British attacks on Yemen and the formation of an international naval coalition to protect the vital trade route.

With Israel's Mediterranean ports lying about 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) from northern Yemen, it is unclear how much of a threat the Houthis will pose.

The Houthi arsenal includes ballistic missiles with a range of 1,600 to 1,900 km, and Iranian Shahed-136 drones that can travel up to 2,000 km, experts say.

The rebels previously threatened to extend their attacks to the Indian Ocean and to vessels taking the detour around southern Africa to avoid the Yemeni coast. But their main focus has remained the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

*This story has been edited by Ahram Online

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