(RightWing.org) – Attacks on shipping in the Red Sea are now putting traffic through the vital Suez Canal at risk. Yemen’s Houthi movement — an extremist terror group backed by Iran — is launching drones and missiles at tankers and cargo ships in an apparent attempt to support Hamas. US warships have already been attacked, too.
On December 12, the Strinda, a Norwegian tanker in the entrance to the Red Sea, was hit by a missile fired from Houthi-occupied territory in Yemen. The weapon set the tanker on fire. It’s the latest in a series of attacks, including one on December 3 when three commercial ships and a US Navy destroyer were targeted by missiles and suicide drones. At first, the Houthis claimed they were attacking Israeli ships, although none of their targets were Israeli-flagged; now they’re not even pretending, and it’s clear the attacks are random.
According to a Houthi spokesman, “Brigadier” Yahya Saree, the Strinda was heading for Israel. In fact, the ship was carrying Malaysian palm oil to Italy when it was hit and has no connection with Israel at all. Saree also said the Houthis only fired at the ship, which was in a recognized shipping lane through the 13-mile-wide Bab-el-Mandeb Strait which separates Yemen and Djibouti, after it “rejected all warning calls.”
In reality, it’s likely the Houthis are targeting commercial shipping in an attempt to cause as much chaos to trade as possible, in the hope that will generate international pressure on Israel to end its operations against the Hamas terror group. While the Shia Houthis and Sunni Hamas have different goals, both are sponsored by Iran. Iran’s two regional enemies are Israel and Saudi Arabia, and it’s using its terrorist proxies to attack both.
Unfortunately, while Hamas is only a threat to Israel, the Houthis are ideally placed to block the southern approaches to the Suez Canal. Eight percent of global sea trade passes through the Canal, which cuts about 2,700 miles off the voyage for a tanker sailing from Saudi Arabia to the US. If the Houthis close it down, that could achieve their goal and increase pressure on Israel — but it could also spark a wider war to keep the trade routes open.
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