Yemen’s Houthis announce ban on passage of all ships en route to Israel

A military spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthis warned all shipping companies on Saturday against cooperating with Israel, saying they will be a target of attack in the Red Sea.

“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,” Yahya Saree said, announcing a ban on the passage of all ships en route to Israel.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have been firing at Israel and ships in the Red Sea in a campaign they say aims to support the Palestinians. US warships have shot down several of their projectiles.

On Thursday, the US Treasury Department issued new counter-terrorism sanctions against individuals and entities linked to the Iran-backed Houthis.

The US designated 13 individuals and entities for providing funds generated from sale of Iranian commodities to the Houthis in Yemen. “Attacks launched from Houthi-controlled areas have also threatened US warships operating in international waters,” State Department Spokesman Matt Miller had said.

Ballistic missiles and other projectiles have been shot down by US warships in the region after heading in their direction, Pentagon officials have said. However, the US officials have stopped short of saying the Houthis were targeting US assets in the region. Houthi attacks have reached Israel. The Houthis have also shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone – which costs a little over $30 million – off the coast of Yemen.

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