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US advocates for naval coalition, Yemen rebels declare intentions to target additional ships

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The United States has spearheaded efforts on Tuesday to establish a multinational naval task force aimed at safeguarding a vital global shipping lane from relentless assaults by Yemen’s Huthi rebels.

Despite condemnation from U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over the “unprecedented” wave of attacks near the Suez Canal, the Iran-backed Huthis remain defiant in their commitment to targeting cargo ships in the Red Sea.

The Huthis, linking their missile and drone strikes to the ongoing Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, have prompted concerns about the free flow of commerce through the strategic waterway.

The attacks, affecting around 10 percent of global trade, have forced numerous shipping companies to reroute their vessels, contributing to soaring insurance costs and disruptions in the shipping industry.

To counteract this escalating threat, Defense Secretary Austin announced the formation of a multinational task force that includes warships from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and other nations. Dubbed “Operation Prosperity Guardian,” the coalition seeks to restore security in the Red Sea and deter future Huthi aggression.

Despite international efforts, the Huthis remain undeterred, vowing to persist in their assaults on the Bab al-Mandeb strait, a crucial shipping lane connecting Asia and Europe.

Senior Huthi official Mohammed al-Bukhaiti stated, “Even if America succeeds in mobilizing the entire world, our military operations will not stop.”

The rebels demand a halt to Israel’s actions in Gaza as a condition for ceasing their attacks.

In response, the U.S.-led coalition, which now includes the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond and the frigate Virgilio Fasan, faces accusations from Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam of aiming to protect Israel and militarize the sea.

As tensions escalate, the international community expresses concern about the impact on the global economy.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps labeled the attacks as an “unacceptable threat” and warned of potential consequences for fuel prices.

Major shipping firms, including CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, MSC, and BP, have rerouted their vessels, contributing to the disruption in energy prices.

Despite the coalition’s efforts, analysts cast doubt on the task force’s ability to effectively counter the Huthi attacks.

The rebels possess a diverse arsenal of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, anti-ship mines, and coordinated operations using boats and helicopters.

As shipping companies reroute vessels around the southern tip of Africa, concerns mount about the challenges in intercepting the Huthis’ sophisticated weaponry in the Red Sea.

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