AL-MUKALLA: The Houthis have significantly slowed down their attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea during the past 24 hours as the Yemeni militia claimed there were Oman-sponsored talks between them and “international partners” who would like to convince the militia to stop attacking ships in the Red Sea.
For the first time in more than a week, the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency, or UKMTO, and US Central Command, or CENTCOM, did not record any Houthi assaults on foreign ships near Yemen’s Red Sea or Arabian Sea shores on Sunday.
The Houthis have launched ballistic missiles and drones at military and commercial ships in the Red Sea to press Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza and allow food, water and other supplies to enter the Palestinian territory.
The significant decrease in Houthi attacks on Sunday came hours after the Muscat-based Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam claimed that international partners he did not name were in talks with them about their Red Sea attacks, adding that the talks fell through after they insisted on blocking the Red Sea to all Israel-bound ships.
“We have assured everyone that Yemen’s operations are to assist the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and that we cannot remain silent in the face of the aggression and siege on the strip, as there is no food, medicine or even drinking water,” Abdul Salam said on social media platform X.
CENTCOM said that a US Navy ship stationed in the Red Sea shot down 14 Houthi-fired drones on Saturday, the highest number of Houthi-fired drones destroyed in a day.
This comes only hours after Houthi military spokesman Yahiya Sarae claimed to have launched a drone barrage on Israel’s southern coastal city of Elate. Yemeni analysts disputed the Houthi assertion that foreign powers were involved in pushing them to halt their assaults.
Ali Al-Fakih, editor of Al-Masdar Online, told Arab News that to prevent military reprisals from the US or any other nation, Oman is leading efforts to mitigate tensions in the Red Sea caused by the Houthi attacks in an effort to salvage mediation efforts to end the conflict in Yemen.
Al-Fakih said that any assault on the Houthis would push them to boycott the recently successful UN-brokered peace negotiations in Yemen.
“Regional parties are concerned that if the Al-Houthis are exposed to counter-attacks by the US or others, the peace deal would be jeopardized. The Houthis will use it as a reason to back out of any deal,” Al-Fakih said.