AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia on Sunday called for all vessels planning to transit the Red Sea to notify them in advance of their destinations and declare no connections to Israel to avoid being attacked.
The Houthi leader, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, proposed defusing what he called the “militarization” of the Red Sea or igniting a war between their militia and the US-led maritime forces in the waters, by demanding that all ships sailing in the area supply them with the requested information.
In a post on X, Al-Houthi said: “Every ship that goes through the Red Sea, Bab El-Mandeb (the strait that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden), or the Arabian Sea should broadcast the words, ‘we have no relationship with Israel.’
“This is a simple and low-cost solution that will incur no financial expenditures for any business. This measure does not need the militarization of the Red Sea and will not jeopardize international navigation.”
Since Nov. 19, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship called Galaxy Leader and conducted more than 20 missile and drone assaults on commercial and navy ships in the Red Sea, as part of their ban on all Israel-bound ships from using the important maritime channel.
The Houthis claim that their actions were intended to compel Israel to stop bombing Gaza.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported on Saturday that the USS Laboon (DDG 59) naval destroyer shot down a drone launched by the Houthis near commercial ships in Red Sea international waters.
At the same time, Houthi leaders have reiterated their threats to attack US Navy ships in the Red Sea in punishment for the deaths of 10 of their combatants last week.
The head of the Houthi political council, Mahdi Al-Mashat, said on Saturday that the militia would only back down from its retaliatory attack on US Navy ships if America handed over the marines who fired at their fighters in the Red Sea on Dec. 31.
Speaking to allied military commanders in the western city of Hodeidah, the Houthi leader said: “Retaliation is unavoidable, except in one case: if you give over the murderers and terrorist criminals among your troops who murdered our heroes in the armed forces to be tried in the Republic of Yemen.”
Meanwhile, Yemen’s army in the southern city of Taiz said on Saturday that one of its soldiers was killed when a Houthi drone targeted an army post while government troops repelled two Houthi ground assaults.
Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni military official in Taiz, told Arab News on Sunday that the Houthis conducted two assaults on government soldiers north and west of Taiz on Sunday as they aim to take control of fresh areas in the besieged city.
The news came as president of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, met with UN Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg in Riyadh on Sunday to discuss ongoing UN-led attempts to restart the peace process in Yemen, according to the official news agency.
Yemen’s leader reaffirmed his government’s commitment to cooperating with Grundberg’s efforts to push for peace in the war-torn country.