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US-led patrol forces retaliate against Houthis attack on commercial ships in Red Sea

A United States-led patrol has agreed to jointly patrol the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial shipping against attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. According to news agency Reuters, several countries have agreed to conduct joint patrols against attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have said they are supporting the Palestinians.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is on a visit to Bahrain, identified the countries that are going to participate in an international force. However, there is no clarity about whether those countries are willing to do what the US warships have done. Recent days: Shoot down Houthi missiles and drones and rush to the aid of commercial ships.

“This is an international challenge that demands collective action. So, today I am announcing the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, an important new multinational security initiative,” Austin said in a statement Tuesday, quoted by Reuters “

The participating countries, led by the US, were identified as including Bahrain, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain. The Houthis have entered into the conflict between Israel and Hamas by attacking ships in vital shipping lanes and even firing drones and missiles at Israel.

The Houthis attacked two commercial shipping vessels in the southern Red Sea on Monday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, Reuters reported. It said the chemical/oil tanker motor ship Swan Atlantic was attacked by a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile.

In another incident that occurred around the same time, the bulk cargo ship MSC Clara reported an explosion in the waters near its location, CentCom said. No casualties were reported from either ship.

On Monday, Houthi spokesman Yahya Sariya identified the same ships that were being attacked and said drones were used because the crews failed to respond to the group’s calls.

Houthis threaten to target all ships bound for Israel

The Houthis have issued threats saying they will target all ships headed to Israel, regardless of nationality, and have also warned international shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports, as Reuters has reported.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Monday, Houthi politburo member Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said his group would be able to confront any US-led coalition that might deploy in the Red Sea. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Houthi attacks on commercial ships in talks with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday, the State Department said.

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