Houthis Vow Revenge For US Navy Red Sea Killings


By Saeed Al-Batati

Yemen’s Houthis have threatened to turn the Red Sea into hell for the US in response to American marines killing 10 fighters on Sunday.

The official Houthi news agency ran an editorial under the headline “America has opened the door to hell for itself” on Monday, vowing vengeance for US Navy attacks on their boats in the Red Sea, accusing the US of supporting Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza by preventing them from imposing their ban on Israel-linked ships sailing through the Red Sea.

The news agency said that the US Navy performed “a foolish act by targeting three boats, as a result of which ten members of the Yemeni naval forces martyred, thus opening the door of hell upon itself, its ships, and its military bases in the region.”

The US Navy destroyed three of four Houthi boats in the Red Sea on Sunday, killing the crews after they tried to hijack a commercial ship and opened fire on the helicopters.

According to the Houthis, 10 of their men were killed in the US Navy attack.

Houthi leader Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti said the group would attack the US ships that killed their troops and would continue to prohibit ships traveling to Israel from crossing the Red Sea.

“This is an attack on Yemen, and there must be retaliation, and America must suffer the repercussions of this attack and crime,” Al-Bukhaiti told France 24 Arabic TV on Sunday night.

On Nov. 19, the Houthis launched their Red Sea attacks by hijacking a commercial ship called Galaxy Leader and rerouting it to the coast of Yemen’s western city of Hodeidah.

In the days that followed, they launched drones and ballistic missiles at commercial and navy ships to force them to avoid the Red Sea.

Despite the Houthis’ strong threats of retaliation, some analysts believe that regional actors such as Oman may step in to persuade the Houthis to de-escalate so as not to jeopardize the present promising UN-led efforts to forge a plan to end the conflict in Yemen.

Mohammed Al-Basha, a senior Middle East analyst at the Navanti Group, said that public pressure is mounting on the Houthis to retaliate and that, should they choose to do so, they would launch explosive-laden suicide boats at US Navy ships while simultaneously launching massive drones and missiles designed to overwhelm the US Navy’s air defenses.

“The effectiveness of the US Navy’s defense mechanisms could prompt the Houthis to contemplate a coordinated swarm offensive, involving joint drone attacks, Water-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices, and anti-ship missiles, with the aim of targeting a destroyer,” Al-Basha told Arab News.

At the same time, Yemeni conflict expert Nadwa Al-Dawsari said that the same Western countries that pressed the Yemeni government in late 2018 to halt the military offensive that was poised to expel the Houthis from Hodeidah are now rushing to launch airstrikes on the Houthis, adding that the Houthis would exploit any US military action to recruit people.

“Now it seems the West is rushing to war,” she said on social media platform X, adding: “Airstrikes might undermine Houthis missile capability in the short term, but won’t address their threat. They will reinforce their propaganda that they are being punished for defending Palestine, a cause that most Arabs consider their first priority. This will help Houthis recruit fighters for future wars that will extend beyond Yemen.”

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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