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Iran Accused of Fueling Houthi Attacks on Commercial Ships in Red Sea

The United States has accused Iran of being “deeply involved” in attacks by Houthi rebels on commercial ships in the Red Sea. Tehran has provded drones and missiles to the Houthis, as well as tactical intelligence “crtical in enabling” the strikes, the White House has said.

Since last month, Yemen’s Houthis have launched multiple drone and missile attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, disrupting maritime traffic.

In a statement, Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for White House national security, affirmed that Iran played a significant role in strategizing the assaults on trade ships in the Red Sea. Watson emphasized that this issue requires a united effort from the international community. The White House is also considering further measures to address the activities of the Houthis.

The group has claimed the attacks are in response to Israeli strikes in Gaza. The conflict in the Palestinian enclave escalated on October 7 when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking scores hostage. Israel’s retaliatory operation against Gaza, which Israeli officials say is aimed at wiping out the militant group, has left more than 20,000 dead so far, according to local health officials. The Houthis have pledged to continue targeting ships sailing close to Yemen as long as Israel continues its war on Hamas.

Houthi fighters threaten to strike US warships
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Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stressed in early December that “resistance groups” are acting independently and “not taking orders from Tehran to confront the war crimes and genocide committed by Israel.”

On Wednesday, ex-National Security Advisor to Donald Trump and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, argued in the Washington Post that the administration of President Joe Biden was showing weakness in its treatment of the Houthis. Bolton also cited Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who recently told The New York Times that the US must face “consequences” for its support of Israel. However, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said this week that the US would not “telegraph any punches one way or the other.”

A naval alliance consisting of 20 nations, primarily NATO members, was declared by the United States recently. The purpose of this coalition is to collaboratively monitor and defend the Red Sea region against Houthi assaults. These attacks have had a significant impact on a crucial trade pathway that connects Europe and North America to Asia through the Suez Canal. As a result, shipments are being delayed and the expenses associated with shipping have considerably increased due to the necessity of finding alternative, lengthier routes.

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