The United States and the United Kingdom have reportedly shot down all drones and missiles launched by the Yemeni rebel group at ships sailing in the Red Sea. The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution this Wednesday
UK and US naval forces have repelled the largest and most complex attack ever launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels against shipping in the Red Sea, Britain’s defense secretary has said.
According to the US military, the Iranian-backed Shiite armed group launched 18 drones, two cruise missiles and an anti-ship missile during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, all of which were shot down by air defense jets on naval ships. No damage or injuries were reported.
The Houthis have not formally claimed responsibility for the attack, but Al Jazeera anonymously quoted a military officer from the group as saying that their forces “targeted an Israel-linked ship in the Red Sea.”
The United States declared that the attack is the 26th since November 19th: the Houthis have openly stated that they are targeting merchant ships crossing the Red Sea, one of the most important and busy routes of world trade, in response to the war in the Gaza Strip, claiming – often falsely – that the boats are linked to Israel.
The countermeasures adopted by the United States and allies
The United States, the United Kingdom and ten other countries – including Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan – have ordered the rebel group to immediately end the attacks, which they say are illegal and pose a “direct threat to freedom of navigation”. in the crucial trade route, through which 12% of global goods worth an estimated $1 trillion a year pass.
The allies have so far avoided striking targets in Houthi-controlled territory in northwestern Yemen in retaliation and have limited themselves to patrolling the Red Sea to try to prevent and counter assaults, but British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps warned on Wednesday that if the attacks continue “the Houthis will pay the consequences”. “We will take the necessary measures to protect innocent lives and the global economy”, he added.
The fear is that a wider conflict at sea or a retaliatory attack by Western forces could reignite tensions in Yemen, where a fragile ceasefire between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting since 2015 has held for months. the rebels alongside the government in exile. Or, worse yet, that a more decisive intervention will spread the conflict in the region, especially attracting Iran.
The draft UN resolution
On Wednesday the United Nations Security Council will meet to vote on a resolution on the matter, which could condemn the actions of the Yemeni movement and call for an immediate cessation of the attacks.
An initial draft resolution, drafted by the United States, called for recognition of “the right of Member States, in accordance with international law, to take appropriate measures to defend their merchant and naval vessels.”
The final text is weaker. It says Houthi attacks impede global trade “and undermine navigation rights and freedoms, as well as regional peace and security”, calling for these to be respected, but would not cite a country’s right to defend its vessels.
It also calls for the immediate release of the first ship attacked by the group, the Galaxy Leader, a cargo ship operated by Japan and linked to an Israeli company, seized in November along with its crew.
This article is originally published on it.euronews.com