Houthis say Russian and Chinese ships are free to pass through the Red Sea without being fired upon amid attacks on US and UK ships

Friday, January 19, 2024
 – A top Houthi official has declared that Russian and Chinese ships will be guaranteed safe passage through the Red Sea.

Senior political adviser and Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said his rebels were waging an 'ethical' war, adding the attacks on merchant vessels would only cease when Israel stops all military operations in Gaza.

'The madness and idiocy of the USA and Great Britain have played against themselves - now their ships will not be able to use one of the key trade arteries in the world.

'The US and UK will need to stop aggression against Yemen, stop the war in the Gaza Strip, and ensure the uninterrupted flow of medicine, fuel and food - only then will we immediately stop all our operations in the Red Sea,' he told Russian outlet Izvestia.

'The war we are waging today is one of a kind in terms of its moral and ethical frontier... the whole world sympathises with Yemen's heroic stand to end the genocide of the Palestinian people.

'As for all other countries, including Russia and China, their shipping in the region is not threatened. Moreover, we are ready to ensure the safety of the passage of their ships in the Red Sea, because free navigation plays a significant role for our country,' he concluded.

Hours after Bukhaiti's interview with Izvestia, the Houthis claimed yet another attack on a US ship early this morning.

The Houthis' campaign has disrupted global commerce, stoked fears of inflation, and deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilise the Middle East.

The Houthis said in a statement posted to social media that their 'naval forces... carried out a targeting operation against an American ship' - identified as the Chem Ranger - 'with several appropriate naval missiles, resulting in direct hits'.

The US military's Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, said the Houthis 'launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at M/V Chem Ranger, a Marshall Island-flagged, US-owned, Greek-operated tanker' on Thursday night.

'The crew observed the missiles impact the water near the ship. There were no reported injuries or damage to the ship,' the command said on social media platform X.

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