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UK petrol, diesel prices jump as pro-Palestine Yemeni operations rage in Red Sea

Average fuel prices have risen by more than 3p per liter in the UK in three weeks. (By PA)

Britons are feeling the pinch of the UK government’s support for Israel, and Yemeni forces’ pro-Palestine reprisal operations in the Red Sea.   

The price of petrol and diesel jumped across the United Kingdom following the Yemeni armed forces’ retaliatory strikes on the US and British vessels as well as Israeli shipping in the Red Sea in support of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

British media said petrol was up 3.2p a liter and diesel 4p a liter as fuel tankers were forced over the past weeks to avoid the Suez canal and instead go round South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope due to heightened tensions in the strategic Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

In the three weeks to February 18, petrol increased by 3.2p to 143.4p a liter, while diesel rose by 4p to 152p, according to the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), which said this was “worrying” for motorists.

Reports said the financial pressure on British petrol car drivers had been easing over the last three months, as the price had fallen back from 157p to below 140p in mid-January.

While the price of diesel had reduced by 15p, from 163p in early October to just below 148p in late January, it was cheaper for much of last summer.

“News that fuel prices have bottomed out and are now on the rise again is bad news for drivers, and possibly the economy and future inflation rates, too,” said Simon Williams, the RAC fuel spokesperson.

“While we’re not expecting prices to shoot up dramatically, it appears that oil is trading up, which in the absence of a stronger pound means wholesale fuel costs more for retailers to buy in. The result is higher prices at the pump and more expense for the everyday driver.”

The RAC pointed to the recent Red Sea attacks by Yemeni forces and the closure of British refineries for maintenance as the reasons for the fuel price hike.

Yemen’s armed forces have been targeting Israeli ships and those bound for Israeli ports since November in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

According to Yemen’s al-Masirah television network, the Yemeni armed forces have since November 19, 2023 carried out 30 naval operations, targeting 32 ships, including three ships owned by the Israeli regime, 13 US ships, 6 British ships and 10 ships heading to Israeli ports.

Israel has killed more than 29,000 people, mostly women and children, and injured some 70,000 others in Gaza since the regime launched its US-backed onslaught on October 7, 2023.

Ibrahim Mohammad al-Deilami, the Yemeni ambassador to Iran, said on Sunday that Yemen’s armed forces would strike any US and British targets “within the firing range” in response to their recent acts of aggression against Yemen’s territory.

The pro-Palestine Yemeni operations have prompted some shipping companies to detour around southern Africa to avoid the Red Sea, which normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.

The Yemeni army says only Israeli, US and British ships are targeted, asserting that other countries can rest assured of the safety of their cargoes.

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