Yemen Houthi Militia Scales Back Red Sea Strikes

Thu Dec 21 2023
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AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia has significantly scaled back attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, despite continued threats to target US-led multinational task forces monitoring the crucial trade route.

The number of Houthi attacks fell to zero for a second day on Thursday, with neither the UK Maritime Trade Operations nor the US Central Command reporting fresh strikes on commercial or naval ships.

The UKMTO’s most recent alarm early on Tuesday warned of a “suspicious” watercraft approaching a ship eighty nautical miles northeast of Djibouti.

Houthis have threatened to prevent any vessels heading to Israel from passing through the Red Sea and have seized a commercial ship. The militia has also launched ballistic missiles and drones at vessels to put pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza.

The US has led an international coalition task force to protect the Red Sea, a major global trade route, against Houthi threats. Militia strikes have led to some shipping corporations rerouting their vessels away from the area.

Houthi militia’s pledge

The Houthis have pledged to strike US-led naval forces if Yemen is attacked.

The decline in Houthi Red Sea strikes comes amid renewed clashes between the militia and Yemeni government troops in the southern city of Taiz.

Yemen’s army said on Thursday that the Houthis attacked an air defense site west of Taiz, the latest militia effort to occupy military locations in the besieged city.

Forces fought off the Houthi onslaught, according to an army statement. Hostilities have generally eased since April last year, when a UN-brokered cease-fire went into place.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International asked the Houthis on Wednesday to release 6 members of the minority religious Baha’i sect, including a woman, stating that the detainees face a significant risk of mistreatment at the hands of their captors.

On May 25, armed Houthis raided a Baha’i assembly in Sanaa and seized seventeen people. Following worldwide pressure, eleven were released.

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