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Houthi leader calls on EU to withdraw Red Sea warships

April 19, 2024 at 10:59 am

A protestor lifts a placard depicting the Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi while participating in a protest staged in solidarity with Palestinians and back Yemen’s Houthis attacks against Israel, the US, and the UK, on March 22, 2024, in Sana’a, Yemen. [Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]

Leader of Yemen’s Houthis Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi on Thursday urged European countries to withdraw their “military assets” from the Red Sea, stressing that there is no danger to European shipping that is not heading to Israel, Anadolu Agency reported.

“There is no danger to the navigation of European countries, which are not heading towards the Israeli enemy, so they can pass safely,” Al-Houthi confirmed in a televised speech broadcast by the group’s Al-Masirah channel.

“We tell the Europeans that it is in your interest to withdraw your units that cost you a lot and involve you in dangers and skirmishes for the benefit of the United States,” Al-Houthi said, advising the Europeans to coordinate with Yemen to cross the sea “without being targeted”.

He pointed out that the “congestion of warships in the Red Sea” is the primary cause of concern for the security and safety of navigation and ships crossing the region.

There was no immediate comment from the European Union (EU) regarding the Houthi speech until 15:30 (UTG).

The Houthis have been targeting ships that are Israeli-owned, flagged, operated or heading to Israeli ports in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with missiles and drones in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which has been under a devastating Israeli offensive since last October.

With the US and UK launching retaliatory airstrikes against Houthi sites inside Yemen, the Houthis declared that they consider all US and British ships military targets.

On 19 February, the EU announced the launch of a European naval mission called Aspides to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks.

Although the naval mission is separate from the attacks launched by Washington and London, the two sides coordinate efforts.

Read: Houthis vow to continue targeting Israel, US, UK ships until war on Gaza ends