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AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia resumed missile and drone attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea on Monday, and announced it was putting its troops on high alert in anticipation of a military response from the US or other nations. 

Yahya Sarea, the militia’s spokesperson, claimed responsibility for firing two drones at the tanker Swan Atlantic and the container ship MSC Clara after they ignored the Houthis’ warning against sailing to Israel.

The militia “continues to ban any ships of any nationality traveling to Israeli ports from … the Arab and Red Seas until they bring in the food and medication that our loyal brothers in the Gaza Strip need,” Sarea said in a statement.

The Houthis had halted attacks on ships in the Red Sea on Sunday amid reports that Oman had facilitated negotiations between the Houthis and other nations to persuade the Yemeni militia to halt its actions.

Norwegian company Inventor Chemical Tankers said on Monday that its Cayman Islands-flagged tanker Swan Atlantic had been hit by a projectile in the Red Sea.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency, which monitors maritime activity, on Monday issued at least five notifications regarding incidents in the Red Sea and near the Bab Al-Mandab Strait.

The UKMTO issued its first notice at 12:30 p.m., advising boats sailing in the region to be on their guard after it had received information regarding an incident northwest of Djibouti.

The organization then reported another incident southeast of Yemen’s port town of Mocha, in which a ship claimed that a boat carrying armed men had approached it, which had led to the ship’s guards firing warning shots.

Yusuf Al-Madani, the commander of the Houthis’ Fifth Military Region, which includes the western city of Hodeidah, has vowed to strike any military forces that seek to prevent the militia from attacking ships bound for Israel, and claimed that his forces had been put on high alert to face reprisal attacks.

Al-Madani told a local Houthi-affiliated radio station on Monday: “We must prepare to fight … the enemy will respond here and there.”

The Houthis have launched ballistic missiles and drones at commercial and navy ships in the Red Sea as part of the militia’s pledge to block ships bound for Israel until the Israeli forces cease shelling Gaza.

Source: Arab News

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