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EU to deploy warships to Red Sea to counter Houthi, says Politico

EU to deploy warships to Red Sea to counter Houthi, says Politico Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

The European Union is planning to deploy at least three military ships to safeguard vessels in the Red Sea facing attacks from Houthi rebels in Yemen, reports Politico.

According to the document from the European External Action Service, the bloc is to establish a "new EU operation" that will "act in a broader area of operation, from the Red Sea to the Gulf." The operation may commence as early as the end of February.

The Houthis claim to have targeted ships in the Red Sea, one of the busiest waterways globally, in a show of support for Palestinians facing Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip.

The EU follows the example of the United States and its allies concerning the protection of vessels in the Red Sea.

Initially, the EU considered the possibility of utilizing its anti-piracy mission, Atalanta, operating in the Indian Ocean, but Spain opposed this idea, stating it was open to a new mission.

The statement mentions that "the exact size and composition of the operation would be subject to further operational planning" but will include "at least three anti-air destroyers or frigates with multi-mission capabilities for at least one year."

Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea

In November, attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels on civilian vessels in the Red Sea began. As reported, on December 16, a British destroyer intercepted a Sea Viper missile targeting a merchant ship.

On December 19, the Pentagon announced the start of the special operation Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect ships from Houthi attacks. Over 20 countries joined the coalition.