TEL AVIV (Agencies): Israel is prepared to act against efforts by Houthi rebels in Yemen to disrupt shipping in the Red Sea if the international community fails to do so, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Saturday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had spoken with US President Joe Biden as well as European leaders about Houthis targeting merchant ships with alleged Israeli links, Hanegbi told Israel’s Channel 12.
“Israel is giving the world some time to organize in order to prevent this but if there isn’t to be a global arrangement, because it is a global issue, we will act in order to remove this naval siege,” Hanegbi said.
The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are a Shia political and military organization that have been fighting a civil war against a Saudi Arabia-backed coalition since 2014.
There has been an uptick in their maritime activities since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.
US warships have already been protecting shipping in the region. Last week a US warship shot down multiple unmanned aerial vehicles that came from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen in the southern Red Sea, according to US military officials. One of the incidents came during a series of attacks on three commercial vessels.
US military officials have said they are considering beefing up protections for commercial ships around a vital Red Sea shipping route amid a series of recent missile attacks by Houthi militants operating out of Yemen.
The US has discussed ways to increase security in the area with members of the Combined Maritime Forces, a multi-national naval task force charged with protecting commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
US officials have said publicly that discussions have centered on the possibility of escorting ships operating in the Red Sea and through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait into the Gulf of Aden — the narrow channel that separates Yemen and the Horn of Africa.