A mock missile is carried by university students during a rally to show support for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the recent Houthi strikes on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, in Sanaa, Yemen January 31, 2024.

Iran-Backed Houthis Extend Red Sea Blockade To US, UK Ships

Thursday, 02/22/2024

The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen announced Thursday that in addition to its blockade on Israeli ships, American and British ships are barred from transiting through the Red Sea.

Vessels wholly or partly owned by Israeli individuals and entities, as well as vessels with the Israeli flag, were prohibited from the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea since November. The militia blockaded the critical trade route in allegiance with Iran-backed Hamas amidst the worst Gaza war since the terror group took control of the strip.

The Houthis' Humanitarian Operations Coordination Center said the blockade now applies to the UK and US which have launched dual attacks on the group's capabilities in Yemen and been at the helm of an international coalition of over 20 countries to counter the offensive which has had massive impacts on global trade and shipping.

The blockade, aiming to force Israel into a ceasefire, has seen multiple attacks on shipping since November, including the hijacking of the Galaxy Leader and its 25 crew members.

On Thursday, the latest Houthi attack saw a UK-owned, Palau-flagged cargo ship targeted by two missiles 70 nautical miles southeast of the Yemeni port city of Aden. The attack set the ship on fire, Reuters reported.

According to maritime security firm Ambry, the vessel named “Islander” was sailing from Thailand to Egypt when it was hit in the waters of the region. US-led coalition forces responded to the attack.

On January 10, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on the Houthis to stop attacks on shipping immediately, which has had no impact on the group recently redesignated by the US.

Also on Thursday, the emboldened Yemeni group targeted the southern Israeli town of Eilat, intercepted by Israel.

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