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Yemeni FM says Israel’s military drills in Red Sea dangerous

Foreign Minister of the Yemeni National Salvation Government Hisham Sharaf Abdullah

Yemeni Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf Abdullah has warned about the danger of the participation of Israel in massive US-led naval drills to be held in the Red Sea next week.

Yemen’s top diplomat sounded the alarm on Wednesday, saying the upcoming military activities are of suspicious nature to be held under the guise of the US-led International Maritime Exercise (IMX).

The so-called IMX, which began on Monday with the participation of dozens of countries and will last for nearly three weeks until February 17, will be conducted in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the northern Indian Ocean.

The Israeli Navy will take part in sections of the drill, the first time the occupying regime has joined such an array of countries in a significant US-led naval exercise.

There are countries in the IMX like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia, as well as Pakistan, with which Israel does not have any formal relations. There are, however, two other states, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, whose relations with Tel Aviv have been normalized through US-brokered deals.

Over 9,000 people from 60 militaries will take part in the IMX, which will focus on unmanned naval systems and the use of artificial intelligence, the US Navy said.

In a statement, carried by Yemen’s official Saba News Agency, Sharaf Abdullah warned of the consequences of the region slipping into an arena of conflict and new international military alliances under the pretext of combating terrorism and piracy and boosting regional security.

He said there are suspicious agendas that in reality exist and schemes to turn the Red Sea region and the Arabian Sea into an area of direct and proxy conflict.

The Yemeni foreign minister said peoples and countries of the region are the first victims of such military campaigns and drills carried out and called for by Israel and the US.

“What the Zionist entity and the US Central Command announced about the naval drills in the region is nothing more than a provocative display of naval military power, and through which Israel is trying to confirm messages of domination and threat to the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, in the hope of boosting the trend toward further normalization and intimidation,” Sharaf Abdullah said.

While he called for close monitoring of the activities of Tel Aviv in the region, Yemen’s top diplomat also called on the Zionist entity, Bahrain, and the UAE to avoid trying to make any foolish escalation, provocation, or uncalculated movements along the Yemeni coast.

Sharaf Abdullah also called on Iran, Russia, and China to seriously deal with such suspicious moves by Tel Aviv and Washington, which have supported a Saudi-led military coalition in its brutal war on Yemenis during the past seven years.

The war was launched to eliminate Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and reinstall former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.

Famine significantly threatens more than five million people in Yemen, according to the World Food Programme.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s heavy bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces have gradually grown stronger, leaving Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

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