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Houthis warned of risks to global trade

Houthi Media Center via Associated Press Cette photo rendue publique par le Houthi Media Center montre des forces Houthies aborder le navire Galaxy Leader le 19 novembre dernier.

A coalition of countries led by the United States on Wednesday urged Yemen's Houthis to “immediately stop their illegal attacks” on merchant ships in the Red Sea, failing which these rebels, close to Iran, will face the “consequences” .

The warning comes as an increase in attacks in this strategic area, which sees 12% of global maritime trade, has pushed some shipowners to avoid the Red Sea, sending transport costs soaring.

“A significant number of companies, around 18 carriers, have already decided to reroute their ships around South Africa in order to reduce [the risk of] attacks,” said the headquarters of the UN head of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Arsenio Dominguez, during a Security Council meeting.

The Houthis claimed on Wednesday to have carried out an “operation” against a ship of the French carrier CMA CGM in the Red Sea.

The US military had earlier indicated that two missiles were fired on Tuesday evening by the Houthis in an area where several merchant ships were located, near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait, “without making any too bad.”

Tuesday night's attack was the 24th of its kind since mid-November, according to the US Middle East Command (Centcom).

“Very clear”

“Our message must be clear: we demand an immediate end to these illegal attacks and the release of illegally detained ships and crews,” said this coalition of 12 countries in a statement released by the House -White.

“The Houthis will bear responsibility for the consequences if they continue to threaten lives, the global economy and the free flow of trade in the region's critical waterways,” it added.

United States, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Denmark and Countries -Bas are signatories.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior US official stressed to reporters this “very clear warning given” to the Houthis, saying he did not expect any have others.

He said President Joe Biden “discussed options” with his security cabinet on New Year's Day while in the Virgin Islands.

The United States further believes that the missiles used by the Houthis “very clearly came from Iran.”

If it supports them politically, the Islamic Republic nevertheless denies providing military equipment to the rebels, at war against the Yemeni government since 2014 and who control a large part of the territory of the country, the poorest on the peninsula Arabic.

“Freedom of navigation”

The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, for his part declared on X (formerly Twitter) that “the Houthis must end their murderous and destabilizing attacks”.

“The UK will always take action to defend freedom of navigation,” he added.

London said it was “ready to take direct action” against the Houthis, British Defense Minister Grant Shapps had already warned on Monday in the Daily Telegraph .

The rebels, supported by Iran, are increasing drone and missile attacks off the Yemeni coast, claiming to act in solidarity with Gaza, bombed and besieged by Israel after attacks by Palestinian Hamas on October 7.

The Houthis have warned that they will target ships with ties to Israel traveling in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Africa.

The United States has already deployed an aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the region.

For its part, Great Britain sent a destroyer, the HMS Diamond, to reinforce the British maritime protection force already present in the sector.

Several missiles and drones have been shot down by American, French and British warships patrolling the area, while the United States has established a multinational maritime protection force in the Red Sea.

Sunday, the American army announced that it had sunk three Houthi ships, after attacks on a container ship of the Danish carrier Maersk. Ten rebels were killed in this strike, according to a spokesperson for the movement.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116