Houthis show no sign of ending attacks on ships in the Red Sea, U.S. commander says

FILE PHOTO: Houthi fighter stands on the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Yemen’s Houthi rebels show no signs of ending their “reckless” attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, the top commander of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East said Saturday, even as more nations join the international maritime mission to protect vessels in the vital waterway and trade traffic begins to pick up. Since Operation Prosperity Guardian was announced just over 10 days ago, 1,200 merchant ships have traveled through the Red Sea region, and none has been hit by drone or missile strikes, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said in an Associated Press interview. He said additional countries are expected to sign on. Denmark was the latest, announcing Friday it plans to send a frigate to the mission that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced during a visit to Bahrain, where the Navy’s 5th Fleet is based, saying that “this is an international challenge that demands collective action.” The Iran-backed Houthis say their attacks are aimed at Israel-linked ships in an effort to stop the Israeli offensive in Gaza. READ MORE: Who are the Houthis and why hasn’t the U.S. retaliated for their attacks on ships in the Middle East? The narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and then the Suez Canal. The crucial trade route links markets in Asia and Europe. The seriousness of the attacks, several of which have damaged vessels, led multiple shipping companies to order their vessels to hold in place and not enter the strait until the security situation improved. Some major shippers were sending their ships around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, adding time and costs to the journeys. Currently there are five […]

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