Yemen's Houthis warn EU not to join US-British coalition in Red Sea

Sanaa, Feb 21 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi group warned the European Union (EU) not to join the coalition of the US and Britain in the Red Sea, otherwise its ships would be targeted, the media reported.

“A message to the EU, don’t play with fire and take a lesson from Britain,” the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV on Tuesday cited a statement from Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi in reference to his group’s recent missile attacks against British-registered cargo vessels, including an oil tanker that caught on fire in the southern Red Sea two weeks ago, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Your presence increases the militarisation of the sea, which would affect your countries’ needs of shipping chains through the Red Sea,” al-Houthi said, referring to the EU’s oil shipments from the region.

“If your coalition in the Red Sea commits any foolishness, you will bear the consequences and your navy ships and commercial vessels will be targeted,” the statement added.

On Monday, the EU said it launched a naval mission in the Red Sea to protect shipping as cargo vessels continued to come under Houthi attacks.

It said the Houthi attacks on the international shipping in the Red Sea are casting a shadow over global stability and prosperity.

The Houthis have been attacking Israel-linked vessels transiting the Red Sea since mid-November last year, a move the group describes as a display of its support for Palestinians in Gaza, which has led some shipping companies to alter their routes and circumnavigate the African continent to avoid the threat of Houthi missile attacks.

The US and Britain announced the formation of a naval coalition in the Red Sea and conducted numerous airstrikes on what it identified as Houthi targets, including mobile missile launchers, drones and underwater vehicles. These attacks have in turn provoked a more intense retaliation from the Houthis.

On Monday, the Houthis announced that they had carried out four military operations in 24 hours. These operations included missile strikes on a British-registered cargo ship, which the Houthis alleged resulted in the vessel’s complete sinking, the downing of a US MQ9 unmanned aircraft, and two additional attacks on US cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthi television reported late Monday that the US-British navy coalition launched fresh airstrikes in the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah, targeting a farm in the northern district of Ad-Dahi. There were no reports of casualties, as the Houthis vowed to launch more attacks in response.

–IANS

int/khz


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