Sana’a, Jan 30 (EFE).- The Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed on Tuesday that they were prepared for a prolonged confrontation with the United States and the United Kingdom after the two allies hit several insurgent positions in Yemen in response to attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea.
“We are prepared for a long-term conflict with the forces of tyranny,” Houthi Defense Minister Mohammad Nasser al-Atefi said in a statement, as reported by the Yemeni Saba news agency.
The minister said the top political and military leadership of the Houthis have carefully considered measures to confront the US and the UK, emphasizing the use of “strategic patience” for a timely response.
“We will make the Red and Arab Seas a fence of fire that does not have mercy on the Zionists and those with them,” al-Atefi said. “We will not allow them to be an artery that feeds their brutality and crime against our people in Palestine.”
He said they would continue attacking merchant ships heading to Israel to economically impact the Jewish state in support of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group in Gaza.
The minister assured that navigation in the Red and Arab Seas, serving destinations worldwide, remains “secure and stable.”
However, he specified exceptions for “Zionist ships,” or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestinian territories, as well as American and British ships, considering them countries that attack Yemen and Gaza.
The Houthi minister stressed that the responsibility for securing the Red Sea legally, militarily, and politically was with the states and countries bordering the sea, most notably Yemen.
The tension has prompted major shipping companies to re-adjust routes, avoiding this sea route crucial for 8 percent of the world’s grain trade, 12 percent of oil trade, and 8 percent of global trade in liquefied natural gas. EFE