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Yemen's Houthis announce plans to target ships in Indian Ocean

March 17, 2024 at 9:22 am

People attend a graduation ceremony for cadet, completed their military training under the name of “Aqsa Flood”, organized by the Houthis, in Arhab district of Sana’a, Yemen on February 4, 2024. [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced their plan to attack ships as far as the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope, as global shipping continues to divert away from the Red Sea region.

In statements on X by two spokesmen of the Houthis, Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e and Mohammed Abdulsalam, the Iran-backed group intends to target ships allegedly linked to Israel in the Indian Ocean, even as far as the Cape of Good Hope off southern Africa.

Since the Houthis began launching attacks on vessels passing through the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea four months ago, in response to Israel’s ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip and the occupation’s genocidal acts in the besieged territory, ships have been traversing around the Cape of Good Hope in an effort to avoid being targeted by the group.

In a televised address this week, Sare’e insisted that the Houthis are serious about expanding their operations to other “unexpected” shipping routes. “This is an important, advanced and major step. We have started our related operations through the Indian Ocean”, he stated.

According Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies who spoke to the outlet USNI News, the Houthis do indeed possess missile and drone capabilities sufficient enough to target the Indian Ocean, especially from certain points in Yemen and target destinations.

Yet while those missiles can reach at least 650 kilometres and the drones can reach up to 2,000 kilometres, they are reportedly unable to hit vessels that are going around the Cape of Good Hope.

READ: Houthis to continue Red Sea operations during Ramadan