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US warns 'malign actors' after Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels

The United States joined with several of its allies Wednesday to warn Houthi rebels against further attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea, labeling recent Houthi attacks “illegal, unacceptable, and profoundly destabilizing.”

Houthi rebels have launched numerous attacks on merchant ships and vessels since the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war last year, prompting the U.S. and allies mostly from Europe and the West to engage with the perpetrators.

“Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews,” the U.S. and the allies said in a joint statement.

“The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways,” it added.

The United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all joined in issuing the stark warning.

The statement comes two days after Iran moved a warship to the Red Sea, which came after the U.S. sank three Houthi ships in the area.

The statement released Wednesday said Houthi attacks in the Red Sea “threaten innocent lives from all over the world and constitute a significant international problem that demands collective action.”  

The attacks on merchant ships have caused companies to halt their operations in the area in recent weeks, forcing ships to take a longer route around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope to reach their final destinations.

“International shipping companies continue to reroute their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, adding significant cost and weeks of delay to the delivery of goods, and ultimately jeopardizing the movement of critical food, fuel, and humanitarian assistance throughout the world,” the joint statement said.

“We remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks,” it added later.

Source: The Hill

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