The Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi movement has said that it would consider as legitimate military targets all ships heading to Israel, regardless of their nationality. It warned all international shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports.
The Houthis have already attacked and seized several Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea, as well as firing ballistic missiles and armed drones at Israel.
Houthi officials say their actions are a show of support for the Palestinians. A Houthi military spokesperson said that all ships sailing to Israeli ports are banned from the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” the spokesperson said on Saturday December 9th. The Houthi threat came into effect immediately, he said.
The Houthis have attacked three commercial vessels, as well as targeting a US military vessel, possibly by mistake. Earlier it had hi-jacked the Galaxy Leader, which remains in the port of Hodeidah, along with its crew.
Meanwhile, the latest Houthi move saw two drones launched from Yemen to a French warship operating in the Red Sea. The French shot them down, its defence ministry said on December 10th.
Multipurpose frigate Languedoc intercepted and destroyed a first drone at around 21:30 French time on Saturday, and a second one around 23:30 about 110km from the north-west Yemeni coast.