The Pentagon announced on Thursday that more than 20 countries have agreed to join a U.S. led effort to secure the Red Sea from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian on Dec. 18, in response to repeated and unrestricted attacks against civilian merchant vessels in the Red Sea by members of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement.
Pentagon spokesperson, Major Gen. Pat Ryder, told reporters that the coalition will “Serve as a highway patrol of sorts, patrolling the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to respond to, and assist as necessary, commercial vessels that are transiting this vital international waterway.”
The Houthis have been launching anti-ship missiles and attack-drones at transport carriers sailing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait since the start of the October war in Gaza. The group’s leadership have declared their support for the Hamas terror organization in their conflict with Israel.
There have also been reports of Houthi expedited missile attacks fired in the direction of the Israeli city of Eilat.
The security situation in the region currently consists of the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, four Arleigh Burke class destroyers, and the French Aquitaine-class frigate, Languedoc. Several of these warships have been targeted during their current deployment.
Abdulmalik Al Houthi, the leader of the militants, dismissed the actions by the United States as just an attempt to protect Israel saying, “Whoever moves with the Americans and involves himself in protecting Israeli ships knows that he is providing an exclusive service to Israel and harming international navigation.” Al Houthi further warned the participants stating, “We are not one of those who stand idly by while the enemy strikes us.”