July 20, 2024

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US says Iran ‘deeply involved’ in Houthi Red Sea shipping attacks

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The US has said Iran has been “deeply involved” in planning Houthi attacks on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea and warned Tehran of a possible response amid the increased threat to shipping through a sea lane critical to global trade.

Citing declassified intelligence information, the White House said the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen rely on “Iranian-provided monitoring systems” to launch attacks on commercial ships. 

“We know that Iran was deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea,” US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on Friday.

“Iranian-provided tactical intelligence has been critical in enabling Houthi targeting of maritime vessels since the group commenced attacks in November.”

The Biden administration also said it was considering additional actions in response to the Houthis attacks, which have raised fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to other Middle East countries and draw in the US.

US officials have said they have not ruled out striking Houthi targets in response to the attacks, which began in November, although the White House’s National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned this week that the US would not “telegraph any punches”.

The US has sent two carrier strike groups to the region since October 7, and has deployed hundreds of additional troops in the Middle East since the war began.

“We are engaging in intensive consultations with partners and allies over response options since this is an important issue for the international community,” Watson said on Friday.

Houthi officials said earlier this week that they would continue to target ships sailing close to Yemen as long as Israel continued its war on Hamas.

The Houthis have targeted at least 15 vessels since November 18, which they have said is retaliation…

2023-12-22 16:51:47

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