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Houthi attacks on ships in Red Sea, threats against Italy ‘unacceptable’

Houthis protest against airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sana'a in September 2015. (Henry Ridgwell, VOA/Released)
March 09, 2024

Attacks against ships in the Red Sea since October by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants and their recent threats against Italy are “unacceptable”, Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday.

”The attacks launched by Yemeni Houthi militiamen against ships in the Red Sea are unacceptable,” Tajani told parliament ahead of a vote on joining the European Union’s new Aspides mission to shield vessels in the Red Sea region from attack.

Recent Houthi threats via the media against Italy “are also unacceptable”, Tajani stated.

The Houth missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea ”represent an attack on the security and freedom of navigation, an obstacle to free trade and the smooth operation of maritime routes,” Tajani said.

In an interview with daily La Repubblica last month, senior Houthi official, Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi’s supreme revolutionary committee, warned Italy to be neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and urged it to pressure Israel to stop bombing the Gaza Strip.

Israel has killed over 30,000 Palestinians since the military offensive began in October, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which is run by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. The United Nations believes the death-toll is credible.

The Houthis say their attacks on vessels in the key Red Sea waterway are to avenge Israel’s five-month-old bombardment of Gaza, which began after Hamas’ 7 October cross-border attack when the group killed 1,200 people and abducted over 200, according to Israel.


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