Yemen’s Houthis have forced a ship bound for Israel to change direction a day after they declared that they would be targeting all vessels bound for Israel in the Red Sea.
Bloomberg reported on the news citing an X statement by the deputy foreign minister of the Houthi government, noting that the account of Hussein al-Ezzi could not be immediately verified.
Per the statement, the Yemeni Navy “forced a ship sailing towards occupied Palestine to change its direction and sail back”
The news comes after on Sunday media reported that the Houthis have vowed to turn any ship sailing to Israel into a target unless humanitarian aid was provided to Gazans.
“If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” military spokesman Yahya Sare’e said in an X thread.
“Out of concern for the safety of maritime navigation, we warn all ships and companies to avoid dealing with Israeli ports,” Sare’e also wrote, adding that “The Yemeni Armed Forces reaffirms its full commitment to the safe continuation of the global trade movement through the Red and Arab Seas for all ships and all countries with the exception of ships affiliated to Israel or transporting commodities to Israeli ports.”
A recent string of missile and drone attacks on vessels in the Red Sea by the Houthi army gave rise to concerns about the security of oil transport through one of the biggest global chokepoints. Last week, the Houthis also said they have started targeting Israel itself, too.
On Wednesday, the Houthis launched “several” ballistic missiles at Israeli military posts in the city of Eilat, Reuters reports, citing a Houthi spokesperson. That statement followed the U.S. Navy’s shooting down of a Houthi drone earlier in the day.
Also last week, U.S. National Security Adviser Jon Finer said that the possibility of direct U.S. military action against the Houthis was a possibility that was being considered.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com