Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Saturday threatened to attack ships bound for Israeli ports if food and medicine are not allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip. The latest warning comes amid rising tensions in the Red Sea and surrounding waters, following a series of maritime strikes by Houthi rebels since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.
In a statement posted on social media, the Houthis said they would "prevent the passage of ships bound for the Zionist entity" if humanitarian aid is not allowed to enter Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Houthis have recently attacked ships they claim have direct ties to Israel, but their latest threat broadens the scope of their targets. Regardless of the flag flown by the ships or the nationality of their owners or operators, ships bound for Israel "will become a legitimate target for our armed forces," the statement said.
Last week, rebels attacked two ships off the Yemeni coast, including one flying the flag of the Bahamas, claiming they were Israeli-owned. Last month, rebel forces also seized the GalaxyLeader, an Israeli-owned cargo ship. "We warn all ships and companies against dealing with Israeli ports," the Houthis' latest statement read.
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