UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is convening a full Cabinet call on Thursday evening to address potential actions against Houthi rebels following their attacks in the Red Sea. This urgent gathering comes on the heels of an emergency Cobra session and a National Security Council meeting held earlier in the day.
The situation escalated after UK and US naval forces successfully countered a significant drone attack by the Houthi rebels, marking a notable upsurge in aggression from the Yemen-based group. Grant Shapps, addressing the matter, warned of further actions if the attacks persisted. He also suggested that the Houthis, controlling Yemen's capital since 2014, are possibly backed by Iran.
Shapps stated to Sky News, "Iran is guiding what is happening there in the Red Sea," emphasizing the need for Houthis to cease their actions. His message was clear: “This has to stop, and watch this space.”
The Royal Navy's HMS Diamond played a key role in neutralizing the latest series of attacks, which the Houthis claim are retaliatory actions for Israeli bombings in Gaza. According to Shapps, HMS Diamond, in collaboration with US warships, destroyed multiple attack drones, ensuring no harm to the crew or commercial shipping in the region.
The UK, alongside its allies, has previously condemned these illegal attacks, stressing that continuous aggression by the Houthis would bear serious consequences.
The nature of any additional actions by the US, the UK, and other allies remains uncertain, though there is speculation about potential strikes on Houthi command centers.
While the Prime Minister's spokesman refrained from detailing possible responses, he emphasized the right to take further steps to protect commercial shipping and stabilize the region.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Bahrain, echoed these sentiments but did not elaborate on specific plans, indicating that continued aggression would lead to consequences.
The crisis in the Red Sea has already impacted global shipping, with major companies and BP diverting vessels to avoid risk, potentially increasing consumer costs amidst efforts to curb inflation.
The recent complex attack by the Houthis, involving a combination of drones and missiles, marks the 26th such assault on Red Sea shipping lanes since November 19. US Central Command highlighted the joint effort by US and UK forces in countering this threat, underlining the seriousness of the situation and the ongoing commitment to maintaining security in this vital global shipping corridor.