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Yemen ensures ‘safe passage’ for intl. ships, vows attacks on Israeli vessels

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen’s Ansarullah, is anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, on December 5, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Yemen's Ansarullah resistance movement has promised a "safe passage" for international ships sailing in the Red Sea as the country’s armed forces ramp up their retaliatory attacks on Israeli-owned and -bound vessels in support of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Mohammad al-Bakhiti, a member of Ansarullah’s politburo, made the statement in an interview published by the Russian daily Izvestia on Friday and said the Red Sea was safe so long as ships transiting the strategic waterway were not linked to Israel.

"As far as ships from all other countries, including Russia and China, are concerned, their navigation in the region is not under any threat whatsoever," Bakhiti said.

“Moreover, we are ready to ensure the safe passage of their ships in the Red Sea, because free navigation plays a significant role for our country,” he added.

Stressing that attacks on vessels “in any way connected with Israel” will continue, Bakhiti said, “Ansarullah does not pursue the goal of capturing or sinking this or that sea vessel. Our goal is to raise the economic costs" for the Israeli regime "in order to stop the carnage in Gaza.”

The Ansarullah official also defended the resistance group’s seizure in November of the Galaxy Leader, which was a commercial vessel linked to an Israeli businessman, as “a precautionary step for everyone else to follow our requirements.”

Bakhiti added that the ship’s crew, who are still being held, “are fine, and we are giving them a warm welcome.”

Earlier on Friday, Yemen's Armed Forces announced a fresh missile strike against another American ship in support of Palestinians in Gaza, saying the operation was carried out “with appropriate naval missiles, resulting in a direct hit."

Since mid-November, the Yemeni resistance movement and Yemen's Armed Forces have been staging missile and drone attacks against vessels heading towards Israeli ports in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has come under an unrelenting genocidal Israeli war.

On January 12, the US and British aircraft launched an aggression against a number of Yemeni cities, including the capital Sana’a and the western port of Hodeidah. Yemeni leaders, however, announced that such attacks will not deter them from defending oppressed Palestinians in Gaza. 

The Israeli regime launched its 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.

At least 24,620 Palestinians, around 70 percent of whom are women, children, and adolescents, have been killed in the brutal onslaught so far.

The Yemeni forces have vowed to keep up their strikes until the regime stops the war and lifts a crippling siege that it has been enforcing on Gaza.

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