The United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) are understood to be weighing up the possibility of launching air strike against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The militant group, backed by Iran, has launched a number of attacks in the last few weeks against cargo ships in the Red Sea, significantly disrupting international container movement.
The Houthi rebels have claimed that the attacks are in response to Israel’s military action against Hamas in Palestine.
“If the Houthis continue to threaten lives and trade, we will be forced to take the necessary and appropriate action,” the British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, said.
The Times reported that the US and UK are preparing a statement to be released this week that will warn Houthi rebels of the military consequences if they do not cease attacks on cargo ships.
A government source told the British newspaper that the statement was a “last warning” to the rebels, which if ignored would result in a “limited” but “significant” response.
Both the US and UK have sent battleships to the Red Sea in response to Houthi rebels attempting to highjack cargo vessels and firing rockets at Israel.
On December 30, 2023, the US Navy confirmed it had shot down two anti-ship missiles and destroyed three small boats that came within 20 meters of a cargo vessel.
Iran has also rejected calls to stop supporting the Houthi rebels and sent its own military ship to the Red Sea on January 1, 2023.
Shapps added that the rebels “should be under no misunderstanding: we are committed to holding malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks”.