Yemen’s armed forces resume attacks against Israel, affirm solidarity with Palestine
Yemen’s naval forces, under the command of the Houthis, launched direct attacks against Israeli-linked ships in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait on December 3. The Armed Forces have also announced the resumption of strikes against the Israeli occupation as it continues its genocidal bombing of Gaza.
By: Tanupriya Singh
Spokesman of the Yemeni Armed Forces Yahya Saree gives an address about the Yemeni attacks on Israeli ships.
The Yemeni Armed Forces announced that it had launched two direct attacks on Israeli ships in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait off Yemen’s coast on December 3.
The spokesperson for the Forces, Brigadier-General Yahya Saree confirmed the operation on Sunday, stating that it was in response to the demands of the Yemeni people and the “free people of our Arab and Islamic nation, to stand fully with the choices of the Palestinian people and their steadfast resistance”.
Saree added that Yemen’s naval forces had carried out a targeted attack on the Unity Explorer and Ship No.9 vessels, the first with a naval missile and the second with a naval drone. He said that the mission was launched after both ships rejected warnings from the Yemeni Naval Forces. The Unity Explorer has been linked to Dan David Ungar, reportedly the son of Israeli billionaire Abraham Ungar.
Saree affirmed that the Yemeni Armed Forces would continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea and the Arab Sea “until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip comes to a halt”.
Following a seven-day ceasefire agreement, Israel intensified its aerial bombardments on Gaza on December 1, killing 700 Palestinians in the besieged Strip in 24 hours. Among the areas struck was the densely-populated Jabalia refugee camp, the largest camp in Gaza at just 1.4 square kilometers.
Addressing the families of martyrs earlier on Sunday, Saree had also announced that the Yemeni Armed Forces would resume “targeting the Zionist occupation with painful and crushing strikes after the enemy entity returns to launch its barbaric aggression against the Gaza Strip”. The forces had halted their missile and drone attacks on Israel following the truce agreement between the Israeli occupation’s government and Hamas.
He added that those who had attacked Yemen “from the alliance of evil regimes and mercenary gangs are those who advocate and support the Zionist entity”. “Today, we are fighting a fateful battle with the Zionist and American enemy and we will continue until the aggression against Gaza stops.”
Meanwhile, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) also issued a statement on Sunday noting that there had been four attacks against three commercial vessels operating in the southern Red Sea. It added that the USS Carney, which is an “Arleigh Burke-class” missile destroyer had engaged and destroyed a drone launched from “Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen” while stating that it was not certain whether the Carney was the target.
“We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran. The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners,” CENTCOM said.
Israel is a threat to regional security
The Yemeni Armed Forces have warned that all ships either owned or affiliated with the Israeli Occupation will be a legitimate target if they violate what has been outlined in the statement issued on December 3 and all previous statements.
On November 19, the Houthis— who have formed the government in the capital of Sana’a which includes around 80% of Yemen’s population under its mandate (as opposed to the US- and Saudi-backed government in exile in Riyadh) — captured the Israeli “Galaxy Leader” ship in the Red Sea on November 19.
In a statement, the foreign ministers of the imperialist G7 alliance of countries had called on the Houthis to cease attacks and “threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels”, calling on the group to release Galaxy Leader and its detained crew.
In response, Houthi (formally known as Ansar Allah), Muhammad Abdel Salam stated that “It is our conviction that the actions of the criminal entity [Israel] are a threat to regional and international security and peace, and that confronting it and its aggressive activities against the Palestinian people and the region is important for the security and peace of the region and the world.”
Confirming that the operation had been carried out in solidarity with the Palestinian people, he added that the “fate of the ship is linked to the choices of the Palestinian resistance and what serves its goals in confronting the Israeli aggression.”
He further highlighted that the G7’s backing of Israel’s “self-defense” was a violation of international law, citing its illegal occupation of Palestine (echoing what UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, has explained).
“[T]he real legitimacy is for the Palestinian people to resist and confront the aggression, siege, and occupation they are exposed to by the enemy entity,” Salam said.
Analysts have emphasized the strategic importance of the blockade being put in place by the Yemeni Armed Forces, and the implications it could have in increasing the costs of international trade. Measuring less than 25 kilometers in width, the Bab Al-Mandab Strait lies between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.
The Strait is a critical pathway for the exports of petroleum and natural gas from the Persian Gulf in transit through the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline.
“Given that Yemen’s objective is to impose escalating costs on not only the perpetrators but also the sponsors and enablers of the Gaza genocide, it can achieve its goal without sinking a single ship to the bottom of the sea,” noted Mouin Rabbani, a nonresident fellow at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies and a co-editor of online publication, Jadaliyya.