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AL-MUKALLA: The leader of Yemen’s Houthi militia vowed on Thursday to intensify assaults on ships in the Red Sea, Bab El-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, only hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution requesting the Houthis to stop their attacks.
Other prominent members of the Iran-backed militia also slammed the Security Council decision and pledged to continue attacks in the waters until Israel lifted its blockade on Gaza.
In a televised speech, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, who did not mention the Security Council resolution, said thousands of Yemenis had joined their military camps to fight in Palestine and that his forces would continue attacking ships in the Red Sea.
And he reiterated threats to attack US Navy vessels more forcefully if they targeted his forces.
“The retaliation to any American strike will not only be at the level of the current operation, which included more than 24 drones and multiple missiles, but will be larger,” Al-Houthi added.
UN Resolution 2722, which was drafted by the US and Japan, gave member states the right to defend their vessels against Houthi attacks and it denounced the group for attacking ships in the Red Sea.
It also demanded that the Houthis stop their attacks and release the Galaxy Leader vehicle carrier and its 25 crew members.
Since November, the Houthis have seized the Israel-linked Galaxy Leader and launched missiles and drones toward commercial and navy ships sailing through the Red Sea in a bid to prevent all Israel-linked or Israel-bound ships from accessing the important maritime route.
The Houthis say their actions are intended to put an end to Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza and allow humanitarian supplies to enter the area under siege.
Meanwhile, the Houthi chief negotiator based in the Omani capital Muscat, Mohammed Abdul Sallam, said their attacks on ships in the Red Sea would not jeopardize the security of the vital shipping lane, current UN-brokered peace efforts to end the war in Yemen, or their talks with Saudi Arabia.
He accused the US of pushing for the adoption of the new Security Council resolution to punish them for supporting people in Gaza.
In a post on X, he said: “We confirm that there is no risk to ships or international traffic in the Red Sea and that Resolution 2722 is riddled with American deceit and well-known Western falsehoods.”
Abdul Sallam told Reuters that the militia’s intensifying Red Sea operations would not threaten their peace negotiations with Saudi Arabia.
“It has nothing to do with what is happening in the Gaza Strip unless the Americans want to move other countries in the region to defend Israel which is another matter,” he added.
Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, head of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, urged Security Council members, namely the US, to encourage Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza rather than pressing the Houthis to halt their Red Sea assaults.
In a post on X, he said: “The resolution (2722) passed on the security of navigation in the Red Sea is a political game, and the US is the one breaking international law.”
The US Central Command said on Tuesday that American and British navy vessels shot down 21 drones, ballistic and anti-ship missiles launched by the Houthis against ships in the Red Sea.
The Houthis said they launched two dozen missiles and drones at a US naval ship in retaliation for the American military killing 10 of their members in the Red Sea last month.
Houthi leader, Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, claimed on Thursday that the US recently promised them that it would stop supporting other opponents in Yemen and legitimize their government in exchange for them quitting or reducing their assaults on ships, saying they rejected the offer and would continue attacks despite the UN Security Council resolution.
“It (Yemen) will not end its armed operations against Israel until Israel stops committing genocide in Gaza and permits food, medicine, and fuel into the territory,” Al-Bukhaiti said.
Yemeni conflict specialist Nadwa Al-Dawsari told Arab News that the current UN resolution would not force the Houthis to cease their assaults on ships, citing a 2015 UN Security Council resolution that failed to stop Houthi military expansion.
“Condemnations never stopped the Houthis before, and they won’t now. Already, the Houthi leaders are ridiculing the UNSC decision. UNSC Resolution 2216 did not stop the Houthis. This resolution won’t either,” she said.

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