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Yemeni forces block Israel-bound ship in Red Sea, force it to turn back

A Yemeni military helicopter hovers over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship as fighters from Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement walk on the ship's deck in the Red Sea in this photo released on November 20, 2023. (Photo via Reuters)

The Yemeni Armed Forces have blocked the passage of a merchant vessel bound for the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories as it was sailing in the Red Sea, after declaring a decision to block the passage of all ships heading toward Israeli ports in support of the Gaza Strip.

Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, citing a statement released by Yemen’s Defense Ministry, reported on Sunday that “a proper interaction was carried out with the ship, but it did not pay heed to our warnings.”

The statement added that the vessel was subsequently “blocked from passing through and was forced to turn back.”

On Saturday, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree warned that if Gaza does not receive the food and medicines it needs, all the ships passing through Yemen’s territorial waters towards the occupied territories would turn into a “legitimate target.”

He emphasized that all ships from around the world can continue their commercial activity, except those related to the Israeli regime or destined for the ports of the occupied territories.

Yemeni threats disrupt about 85% of Eilat port’s profits: Director

Meanwhile, Director General of the Israeli Port of Eilat, Gideon Golber, said warnings by Yemeni Armed Forces that they will target all Israel-bound ships in the Red Sea have drastically slashed the port’s profits.

Russia’s Sputnik news agency, citing a report published by Israeli Channel 13 television channel, reported that the threats have disrupted between 80% and 85% of the port’s revenues.

Channel 13 further reported that the change in maritime navigation route will raise the prices of imported products by an estimated 3%, which would increase the financial burden on Israelis by about ten and a half billion shekels, or about $3 billion.

Moreover, the Israeli Army Radio quoted Golber as saying that the Yemeni threats have rendered the Port of Eilat unable to import nearly about 14,000 cars since mid-November.

Yemenis have declared their open support for Palestine’s struggle against the Israeli occupation since the regime launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed at least 17,997 people, most of them women and children, in Gaza since. More than 49,229 people have been wounded as well.

On December 4, the Yemeni army targeted two Israeli ships in the Red Sea as they were attempting to cross the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Reports have shown that Israeli shipping companies have already decided to reroute their vessels in fear of attacks by Yemeni forces.

Yemeni forces have also launched missile and drone attacks on targets in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine after the occupying regime’s aggression on Gaza.

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